26/08/2016 - 11:13

G+T expands partnership, moves from West Perth

26/08/2016 - 11:13

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Corporate law firm Gilbert + Tobin has continued its counter-cyclical growth drive, recruiting former Macquarie Capital executive Justin Mannolini as its third new partner this year.

G+T expands partnership, moves from West Perth
ON BOARD: Justin Mannolini (left) will be joining Michael Blakiston and recent recruit Philip Edmands at Gilbert + Tobin. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Corporate law firm Gilbert + Tobin has continued its counter-cyclical growth drive, recruiting former Macquarie Capital executive Justin Mannolini as its third new partner this year.

This move marks a return to the law for Mr Mannolini, who was a partner at Freehills (now Herbert Smith Freehills) before moving into investment banking eight years ago, initially with Gresham Partners and later Macquarie.

It follows the recent recruitment of former Rio Tinto Australia managing director and general counsel iron ore Philip Edmands, and former Allens partner Marshall McKenna, who has joined G+T’s energy and resources litigation practice.

Mr Mannolini is due to start in early October, at which time G+T will have 11 partners and 36 legal staff, making it the 17th largest law firm listed in the BNiQ search engine.

G+T partner Michael Blakiston said the firm took a strategic decision early this year to bolster its partner ranks.

The firm recognised the opportunities available in what he said was currently a very tough market, and knew it would not have the same choices if it waited for a pick-up in activity.

“What has given us the courage to do this now is that we have a strong corporate practice on the east coast,” Mr Blakiston said.

As an integrated national firm, lawyers in Perth were now able to work on east coast transactions.

Mr Blakiston confirmed the firm would also be leaving its long-term home in West Perth, saying he was very close to signing a lease in one of the city’s new buildings.

“When we looked at the resources industry and where we saw ourselves as a national firm in that sector, we felt we needed to start aligning our brand with how we are known in other parts of Australia,” Mr Blakiston said.

“The thing we will have to work hard on is to remain attached to the small end of town, because that is the lifeblood of Perth.”

He said there would be a perception G+T would become more expensive after moving to the city, but emphasised there was no intention to put rates up.

Mr Mannolini said G+T was at the vanguard of innovation in law, and was of a size where it could be more nimble than bigger firms.

He said it also had the capacity to service both large and small clients.

“What I like about G+T in Perth is that culture, it’s in the DNA, to service both ends of the market,” Mr Mannolini said.

“You can’t just be focused on the big end of town; you need to service the juniors and mid caps as well.”

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