Brand New Day, as Perth readies for new US firm

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US law firm Jones Day has declared Australia of growing importance to the overall global economy, and will back up its words by launching a Perth office in April.

The firm has recruited Allens partner Stephen McComish to head the firm’s offering in the West, reporting through to Sydney-based Australia managing partner Chris Ahern.

The office will start by focusing squarely on energy-related projects and disputes, leveraging McComish’s 20-year career in construction, engineering, mining and oil and gas litigation.

Australia’s importance to both the global economy and Asia was central to Jones Day’s decision to launch another Australian office, according to managing partner Stephen Brogan.

“In the next decade, Western Australia in particular will play a critical role in supplying the energy and other commodity needs of Asia,” Brogan said.

“If economic advancement is to benefit the largest number of people in Asia, then access to Australia's resources will be essential. The sheer size and complexity of current and anticipated projects will require lawyers who can anticipate and protect against the inevitable risks and be able to protect clients when unfortunate disputes occur."

Jones Day's Sydney office opened in 1998 and now has a total of 13 partners and 40 lawyers. The Australian practice of the Cleveland-headquartered US firm extends to a variety of transactional and dispute-related matters, in addition to energy-related proejcts.

McComish has been a partner with Allens since 2004. He adds to Jones Day’s more recent disputes-focused recruits, including John Emmerig from Ashurst and John Cooper from Allens. In total, the firm’s litigation partners now combine to form a team of six.