Careers keep moving

Even in a COVID-19 world, some things don’t change.

One of those is the annual round of promotions in law firms large and small that mark the beginning of a new financial year. It is a relief to see that 2020-21 has been no exception, with many firms marking the new year by recognising and rewarding the achievements of their staff.

Though this year’s promotions may be a little muted, they remain a sign of progress and success for many legal professionals, and an indication that firms across Queensland and beyond are meeting the pandemic challenge.

McCullough Robertson Lawyers

Reece Walker
Reece Walker

“From engaging with clients in new, innovative ways to utilising new technologies to ensure business continuity, the legal industry has undoubtedly had to adapt as a result of the pandemic,” McCullough Robertson Lawyers Chair of Partners Reece Walker said.

“Aside from the changes to our working environment that we have had to adjust to over the past few months, what has been particularly noticeable is the strength of our people and the relationships we have with our clients.

“Everyone across the industry has truly stepped up to support one another through this period, and despite the obvious challenges, this is an exciting time for the legal industry with significant opportunity to evolve and shape its future.


“Our recent partner appointments and promotions reflect our long-term strategic vision and support our drive to come through the pandemic with momentum, new perspectives and strong leadership.”

Sarah Hausler Chris Nielsen
Lydia Daly, Sarah Hausler and Chris Nielsen

Among the promotions at McCullough Robertson are three new partners – Lydia Daly (Employment relations and safety, Brisbane), Sarah Hausler (Planning and environment, Brisbane) and Chris Nielsen (Litigation and dispute resolution, Sydney).

The appointments followed the recent lateral hire of partner David O’Farrell (Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Brisbane).


Allens marked 1 July with the appointment of 15 new partners and 12 managing associates, including that of new Brisbane partner David Couper and five local managing associates.

The firm’s Queensland Practice Director, Michael Ilott, said: “We are delighted to have made six senior promotions in Brisbane on 1 July.

“While there is a lot of uncertainty ahead, our role with clients remains the same: we must adapt to where they need us to be. This means continuing to provide expertise and insights, together with knowledge of clients’ businesses, to help them through the period ahead. Our people are our most important asset, and we need the best and brightest lawyers to deliver for our clients.”


Baker McKenzie

Ian Innes

On 1 July, Baker McKenzie announced the promotion of three lawyers to partner, along with four to special counsel, and 13 to senior associate, across its Australian offices.

In Brisbane, Ian Innes was appointed to the partnership, while a senior counsel and two senior associates were also appointed.

“We’re anticipating tough market conditions, but despite that, the firm has shown confidence in the Brisbane office by endorsing these promotions,” Brisbane-based partner Jim Peterson said.

“These promotions are well calibrated to service our clients in the market in which we find ourselves. They reflect our confidence in those individuals, our firm and the future of the Brisbane and broader Queensland legal market.”

Clayton Utz

Unlike many firms, Clayton Utz announces its new partner appointments on 1 January, but is preparing to announce special counsel and senior associate promotions. And in Sydney, Chief Executive Partner Bruce Cooper has announced a new senior leadership team, with Brisbane partner Emma Covacevich now Deputy Chief Executive Partner – Clients and Markets and Doug Bishop as Deputy Chief Executive Partner – People and Development).

“In the immediate term, our focus will be on supporting our clients as they respond to the challenges they’re facing as a result of the impacts of the global pandemic and embrace new opportunities, in whatever form that may be – working collaboratively with them as they re-shape, re-build or re-focus,” Mr Cooper said.


Herbert Smith Freehills

Back on 1 May, Herbert Smith Freehills announced the promotion of 26 new partners to its global partnership, including eight in Australia. It was the firm’s largest promotion round since its merger in 2012. Notably, the gender balance of the new partners was 50:50.

They included the first partner promotion in the firm’s pro bono practice, Head of Pro Bono Brooke Massender.

Thynne + Macartney

Ashleigh Poole Michael Mayes
Ashleigh Poole and Michael Mayes

In Brisbane, Thynne + Macartney announced the promotion of two new partners – Ashleigh Poole (Wills + Estates) and Michael Mayes (Banking + Finance) – along with two new senior associates and a new associate.

“It is wonderful that we are announcing these promotions as we return to our usual workplace after what has been three of the more unusual months in the 127-year history of our firm,” Chairman of Partners Peter Jolly said.

“Thynne + Macartney is confident that within our current group of young lawyers the next generation of partners stand ready to be the law firm of the future. This was evident while working remotely, with all staff demonstrating outstanding commitment and dedication in supporting our clients who faced significant change and opportunity in their own businesses.”

MacDonnells Law

Joanne Parisi Patrick Day
Joanne Parisi and Patrick Day

Further afield, MacDonnells Law announced that Joanne Parisi and Patrick Day had become new directors/owners of the 136-year-old firm.


Cairns local Joanne has been a practice leader in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution team since 2017, while Patrick started his career at MacDonnells as a graduate before gaining experience at another firm, and returning to the firm in 2018 as an expert in the Queensland planning and local government landscape.

So while challenges remain, firms are looking to the future and preparing tomorrow’s leaders.

At Proctor Online we are keen to help firms and their teams celebrate promotions and new appointments, so Proctor’s popular Career moves feature will arrive on Proctor Online shortly. Please email details of any lawyer promotions or appointments to Ensure you include some details of the person’s areas of expertise and achievements, along with a best-quality head-and-shoulders image.

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