04/07/2017 - 11:35

G+T brings Sydney flavour to Perth office

04/07/2017 - 11:35

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Law firm Gilbert + Tobin was so pleased with the fit-out when it moved into its new Sydney offices last year, it decided to borrow heavily from those plans when it shifted to new premises in Perth.

G+T brings Sydney flavour to Perth office
Gilbert + Tobin’s new fit-out places partners among junior lawyers. Photos: Alana Blowfield

Law firm Gilbert + Tobin was so pleased with the fit-out when it moved into its new Sydney offices last year, it decided to borrow heavily from those plans when it shifted to new premises in Perth.

Gilbert + Tobin recently relocated from 1,202 Hay Street in West Perth to the top floor of Brookfield Place Tower 2, taking the opportunity to move to an open-plan office environment.

The fit-out, designed by international architecture firm Woods Bagot, cost $4.2 million, according to City of Perth building application documents, and was paid for by building owner Brookfield Property Partners as part of an incentive to lure the law firm to one of Perth’s newest office buildings.

Gilbert + Tobin partner Michael Blakiston said most of the firm’s Perth-based partners had travelled to Sydney over the past six months and witnessed a dramatic uplift in workplace culture there, much of it attributed to the new office environment.

Mr Blakiston said the decision to closely follow the Sydney fit-out for the Perth office was an easy one.

“The interesting bit was no-one actually believed it could be as good here as it was in Sydney,” Mr Blakiston told Business News.

“The experience that we had in Sydney was that we were so overwhelmed about how good the outcome was.

“We expected a lot from it, but the way people reacted to it and the way that subsequent work output and the cultural advancement that’s gone on, it just took it to a different point, where people want to excel at what they do.”

Mr Blakiston said the new tenancy in Perth would enable Gilbert + Tobin to continue its growth path, which has included the appointment of three new partners in the past 12 months, lifting the total number of employees at the law firm to 57.

Gilbert + Tobin’s new office has room for 79 workstations, which are identical to those at its Barangaroo office.

“The buildings are different; in Sydney we are in International Towers in Barangaroo, which is a totally different shape to Brookfield 2, but the workstations are the same, the level of technology is the same and the fit-out is almost identical,” Mr Blakiston said.

“The quality of what they’ve done is absolutely outstanding; the desks are from Italy, they are fully automated sit-to-stand desks, it is just superb.”

He said it had always been Gilbert + Tobin’s intention to shift into a Perth CBD address more in line with its standing as a prominent national law firm, since it entered the local market through a merger with Blakiston & Crabb in 2011.

However, it was not until last year that office market conditions in Perth provided the opportunity to move, Mr Blakiston said.

“It’s fair to say that we were able to reach a transaction that was clearly satisfactory for the landlord, but it gave us a fit-out that is commensurate with the brand we have,” he said.

“The second thing which was important for us was that we weren’t ready to shift when we merged because our culture was still developing.

“We could have shifted, the firm was happy for us to shift as soon as we merged, which was at the height of the boom.

“But from my point of view, I wasn’t ready, because I felt that our firm needed more time to integrate as a national firm.

“And also being a Perth person and having seen the booms and the busts, I thought ‘nothing stays up forever’ and by delaying, it’s enabled us to get a very good incentive, and we’ve spent it.

“We’ve put it into an environment that now we think will allow us to operate at a level that we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to.”

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