25/03/2021 - 16:01

Three new law firms established

25/03/2021 - 16:01


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Steedman Stagg Lawyers, Kennedy Vinciullo and Gaffney & Palermo Lawyers are new names in Perth’s legal fraternity while a fourth, Mason Ledger, has been radically restructured.

Three new law firms established
James Steedman (L) and Nick Stagg have established their own firm.

Steedman Stagg Lawyers, Kennedy Vinciullo and Gaffney & Palermo Lawyers are new names in Perth’s legal fraternity while a fourth, Mason Ledger, has been radically restructured.

James Steedman and Nick Stagg have commenced trading under their own names after leaving Lavan earlier this month.

Their boutique firm specialises in dispute resolution and commercial law with a particular focus on media and defamation.

They have been joined by senior associate Jasmine Sims, who specialises in media and defamation matters.

“The focus at Steedman Stagg Lawyers is to deliver the quality advice of a big law firm but with the efficiency, flexibility and creativity much-needed by clients in the current market,” Mr Stagg said.

Mr Steedman was a partner at Lavan for seven years while Mr Stagg clocked up 12 years as a partner.

Gaffney & Palermo Lawyers was established this month by Marisa Palermo and Sarah Gaffney-Smith, who previously worked at Gilbert + Tobin.

They have a flexible business model, under which they will work directly for their own clients as well as consulting to Blackwall Legal.

Blackwall’s managing partner and founder Chris Pearce said this was a win-win.

“It works well for us as we can strengthen our team and we have plenty of work to feed through to them, and it’s great for Marisa and Sarah as they have the flexibility to work directly for others as well,” he said.

Mr Pearce said Blackwall has used the same model with experienced lawyers Will Moncrieff and Rob McKenzie, who consult through their own organisation, McKenzie Moncrieff.

“It allows Will to continue some existing consulting work that we weren’t able to bring into Blackwall when Will left the Jackson McDonald partnership mid last year,” he said.

“As a broader comment on the idea, it’s a great model for the modern gig economy, where people are able to retain their own flexibility and freedom, and we are able to build a strong team that can provide a proper full service offering to our client base.”

The link with Gaffney & Palermo is one of several moves at Blackwall, which has grown to have 17 people.

The firm has also recruited Jeff Malone, who had been a special counsel at Lavan.

Mr Malone has joined Blackwall’s insolvency and restructuring team, which is co-led by Mr Pearce.

In addition, Blackwall has promoted Hamish Taylor and Jamie Ogilvie to partner in its corporate team.

Meanwhile, Carla Vinciullo and Tim Kennedy have started trading as Kennedy Vinciullo, a boutique commercial law firm based in West Perth.

The two founders recently were partners at Mason Ledger.

Prior to that, Ms Vinciullo was a partner at Murfett Legal and Mr Kennedy was a partner at Kott Gunning.

Ms Vinciullo is an employment and industrial relations lawyer with 15 years’ experience while Mr Kennedy specialises in commercial litigation and dispute resolution.

Their departure from Mason Ledger adds to multiple exits from that firm, which appears to have just a handful of remaining legal staff.

Mason Ledger was launched one year ago, when it boasted a team of 23 people led by co-founders Chris Bates and Rebecca Johnston.

They recruited four partners – Ms Vinciullo, Mr Kennedy, Chelsea Lyford and Stephen Peterson – and a special counsel, Steven Meacher, but all have left the firm.

Business News has also confirmed the departure of multiple junior staff, many of whom were shown the door last month.

Mr Bates recently announced that he was moving back into his old profession of legal recruitment, with the launch of Mason Ledger Legal Talent.

His profile states that he took a year off “to recharge the batteries and reconnect with my passion for legal recruitment“.

It makes no mention of him being executive chairman of Mason Ledger, nor his stated aspiration (from one years ago) to leverage “his knowledge and networks to build one of the leading law firms in Australia”.

Mr Bates told Business News today that Mason Ledger now operated as a legal and recruitment firm with a combined team of 12 full-time and contract staff.

“Our recruitment and on-demand legal services (Legal Talent) continue to be a big part of the business, and our legal practice now focuses on corporate and commercial, aviation, ports, transport and logistics,” he said.

“My co-founder Rebecca Johnston and I have been involved in helping to establish several businesses over the years and establishing a large new business, especially mid-COVID, was a real challenge.

“It is however something that we have both given our all to and we have been fortunate to work with some outstanding legal professionals along the way. 

Mason Ledger continues to offer specialist legal services and quality legal recruitment and we wish those colleagues who are now embarking on their own businesses all the very best.”


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