Bird & Bird kicks off the New Year with 4 new partners joining its Sydney office


International law firm Bird & Bird has today formally announced the appointment of four new partners to its Sydney office.

These appointments reflect Bird & Bird's considerable expansion in the Australian market as the firm seeks to fulfil its ambition to be the number one law firm for organisations being changed by technology and the digital world. The appointments form part of the firm's wider Asia Pacific growth strategy which has seen a number of senior appointments in the past two years as well as the recent signing of a Co-operation Agreement with top five domestic Chinese law firm AllBright Law Offices ("AllBright") for Bird & Bird's international network to support AllBright's clients in their outbound work from China.

Bird & Bird's Australian office has undergone significant strategic expansion since becoming part of Bird & Bird in late 2014. This recent suite of appointments mean that the Sydney office will have appointed seven new partners since April 2017 including the addition of Lynne Lewis as a partner to its IP practice group; 

Thomas Jones, a specialist in telecommunications, regulatory and infrastructure access matters, to its Commercial practice group and the promotion of Troy Gurnett to partner in its IP practice group. The Sydney office also recently appointed Leila Moddel and Kate Renaud as Senior Associates in its Employment, Corporate and Commercial practice groups respectively.

The four latest arrivals to be announced are:

Sophie Dawson joins Bird & Bird as a partner in our Dispute Resolution practice. Formerly with Ashurst, Sophie is one of Australia's leading media and communications law practitioners. She has over 22 years' experience resolving disputes in the media, technology and telecommunications sectors by way of litigation, arbitration, mediation and expert determination. She also advises private sector and government entities on privacy, surveillance, communications law and data breach issues. Sophie is a co-author of Thomson Reuters' Media and Internet Law and Practice publications and serves on a variety of committees relating to media and technology law.

High profile corporate lawyer, Anthony Latimer, is soon to join from Norton Rose Fulbright. His appointment is part of a significant expansion in Bird & Bird's Corporate practice group in Australia and the wider Asia Pacific region. Anthony advises national and international clients with a particular focus on cross-border mergers and acquisition transactions in the Asia Pacific region (in particular China and Papua New Guinea). He primarily advises government and private enterprises on various transactions and projects in the energy, mining, transport and emerging technology sectors. Raised in Papua New Guinea, Anthony
speaks fluent Pidgin. He is listed as a leading PNG advisor based abroad in Chambers Asia-Pacific 2016, where clients praised “his leadership skills and ability to effectively manage a transaction”.

Steve Johns recently joined Bird & Bird from Norton Rose Fulbright and is a key member of Bird & Bird's Corporate practice in Australia and the wider Asia Pacific region. Steve is a well-known corporate transactional lawyer, advising clients on cross-border M&A and joint ventures with a regional focus on transactions in Asia. He has extensive experience in the technology and communications sector which will complement our highly regarded practice in Australia and across the region. Steve also brings to the firm his experience from working with a leading firm in the United States.

Both Anthony and Steve are well known in the Australian market, where they act for a wide variety of corporates, funds and government entities. In particular, they have natural resources sector experience which will complement Bird & Bird's rapidly expanding Energy & Utilities group in the Asia Pacific region. They also have a track record in supporting Chinese clients with their outbound investments into Australia and the wider Asia Pacific region, a practice that will continue to thrive given Bird & Bird's recent entry into a Co-operation Agreement with AllBright.

Richard Hawkins joins Bird & Bird as a partner after 7 years with Rugby Australia where he was General Counsel and Company Secretary. Rich has over 16 years' experience as a Corporate & Commercial lawyer with a sports focus, and will join Bird & Bird's leading Media, Entertainment & Sports group. Rich has advised on a range of matters connected to sport, including governance, rules and regulations, broadcast and sponsorship, sales and acquisitions of sports clubs, disputes and integrity matters. He is a contributor to the leading sports law text, "Sport: Law and Practice", Taylor and Lewis (Butterworths). Prior to relocating to Sydney, Rich was based in Bird & Bird's London office as an associate in the Sports group from 2004-2010.

Shane Barber, Bird & Bird's Managing Partner in Australia says: "The appointment of our four new partners in the Sydney office represents a significant milestone in our development strategy in Australia. We have strategically chosen some of the best practitioners in their fields who will help us cement our place as one of the world's leading technology and digital law firms. Our clients are focused on innovation so we have continued to build our legal talent in Australian and the Asia Pacific region in a way that responds to the needs of our global, regional and national clients who seek the best advice available for their fast moving industries.

"The Australian office is recognised within the wider firm for the deep reserves of expertise and experience within the firm's practice groups. Our lawyers not only serve their Australian based clients, but also regularly collaborate with international colleagues to deliver effective legal advice and pragmatic business solutions for Bird & Bird clients around the world."

Justin Walkey, Head of Asia Pacific, Bird & Bird says: "I am delighted to welcome these market leading partners to the firm at a time of rapid expansion for the whole of Bird & Bird's Asia Pacific practice. All of our new partners are deeply involved in cross-border work across the region. Bird & Bird sees excellent opportunities for continued strategic expansion across the region as shown by our recent Cooperation Agreement with AllBright to support its considerable China outbound work not only in Asia Pacific and Europe but also throughout the wider firm's international network."

Bird & Bird has also recently announced the opening of its Amsterdam office and the upcoming opening of its office in San Francisco to service its clients based in the Silicon Valley area. This will bring the total number of Bird & Bird offices to 30 in 20 countries.