Clyde & Co opens in Brisbane with three partners from Sparke Helmore

Clyde & Co has picked up three partners from Australian firm Sparke Helmore in Brisbane to open its fourth office in the country.

Clydes’ Brisbane office will be led by former Sparkes partner Matthew Pokarier, who is joining the firm with insurance partners Maxine Tills and Jacinta Long.

It is not yet known whether the three will be bringing others across from Sparkes with them but Clydes is advertising for additional staff in the Brisbane office.

The firm is looking to hire a further 20 lawyers in Brisbane by the end of the financial year, which would take headcount in Australia to more than 100.

Pokarier said: “In coming to the decision to join Clyde & Co, we were particularly attracted by its global, sector-focused strategy. There is a growing interest in the Queensland market for international legal services.”

Clydes entered the Australian market in October 2012 taking a team of eight from Linklaters’ Australian alliance firm Allens. Three partners joined Clydes in Sydney, one in Perth, two in Hong Kong and a further two in Singapore (2 July 2012).

In September 2013 the firm opened a Melbourne office and added infrastructure, transportation and international trade expertise (10 September 2013).

Clyde & Co Australia managing partner John Edmond spent three years at Clydes in London between 1993 and 1998 before joining Allens where he stayed for 14 years.

Edmond said he expected the new office to be of interest to the firm’s infrastructure, energy, natural resources and insurance sector clients in particular.

“As we advance our core sector expansion in Australia, we also have hiring plans across several offices in the infrastructure, transportation and international trade spaces,” he added.

The Brisbane office is Clydes’ 40th international network office. Most recently it opened in South Africa with a five-lawyer raid on Linkaters’ ally Webber Wentzel’s insurance and legal liability group, which closely mirrored the Australia launch (16 May 2014).

The firm was already present in sub-Saharan Africa with an office in Tanzania (25 January 2010) and a best-friends relationship with Zimbabwean firm Scanlen and Holderness (24 November 2011).

The expansion into South Africa followed several years of international growth for the firm. Clydes became the first international firm to move into post-Gaddafi Libya after it hired Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) general counsel Albudery Shariha in July 2012 (12 July 2012).

Further afield, Clydes also has a presence in Mongolia via an association with local firm Khan Lex Advocates (12 March 2012). The firm gained regulatory approval for a Beijing opening from China’s Ministry of Justice in May 2013, which became its third office in Greater China, following Hong Kong and Shanghai which were established in 1981 and 2006 (16 January 2006) respectively (7 May 2013).

It hired two partners from US firm Robins Kaplan Miller & Cires to launch its fourth US office in Atlanta (19 June 2013) and strengthened its presence in Asia last year through a formal association with seven-partner Indonesian firm Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo (2 September 2013).

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