Double partner hire for Ashurst in Brisbane, Sydney

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Ashurst has bolstered its mergers and acquisitions team in Australia with partner hires from MinterEllison and Colin Biggers & Paisley.

Ratha Nabanidham specialises in advising on M&A, infrastructure and major and strategic government transactions. The former MinterEllison partner will be based at Ashurst’s Brisbane office.

Meanwhile in Sydney, the former co-head of Colin Biggers & Paisley’s China practice, Dan Yang, joins with expertise in working for national and international clients on M&A matters across a range of sectors including energy and resource, property, financial services and healthcare industries.

"Ratha and Dan both have top-tier expertise which will complement our offering and so enhance our reputation in Australian and Asian markets,” said Mark Stanbridge, practice group lead, Australia. “We are a M&A team that is growing significantly – Ratha and Dan are the fourth and fifth Australian based M&A partner hires in the last year."

Support staff taking on more first-year lawyer tasks
Law firm and legal department support staff are increasingly taking on more tasks as costs savings and efficiencies are demanded.

Legal profession recruiter Robert Half polled lawyers in the US and found that 66% said that blended or hybrid paralegal and legal secretary roles have become more prevalent in the last two years.

"Hybrid positions that combine administrative tasks with paralegal duties are becoming more widespread as firms restructure their support teams to improve efficiencies," said Jamy Sullivan, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "To deliver quality results to clients at lower billing rates, the responsibilities of legal professionals in these blended roles are also expanding to include a variety of litigation support tasks traditionally handled by first-year associates."

The survey reveals that 50% of legal support jobs at law firms or companies are hybrid roles and 15% of respondents said they intend to hire more of these roles in the next 12 months.

Global firm announces finance, banking leadership changes
Hogan Lovells has made some leadership changes in its finance and banking practice groups.

Partner Rachel Kent is ending her tenure as head of the Financial Industry Sector industry group to become head of Financial Services Regulation. This will mean a continuation of her role working with the financial sector on the significant changes in the UK, Europe and elsewhere as the result of Brexit.

Partner Sharon Lewis will step down from her role as Finance Practice Group Leader to succeed Ms. Kent with Matthew Cottis taking on Ms. Lewis’ Finance leadership role.