Legal veterans depart from traditional law firm career

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Two former partners at traditional firms have moved on from the conventional law firm life, choosing instead to work in-house and in a specialised legal firm catering to entrepreneurs.

NAB has appointed Sharon Cook, King & Wood Mallesons managing partner for clients, as chief legal and commercial officer. Meanwhile, Bruce McFarlane, former partner at Hall & Wilcox, has been appointed as the managing partner of BlueRock Group’s legal arm, BlueRock Partners.

Cook brings more than 30 years of experience in the legal world to the Big Four bank. She specialises in banking, litigation, and corporate insurance. She most recently, led KWM’s development and implementation of its client and sector strategy as part of a five-member managing partner team.

She has been with traditional law firms for most of her legal career, starting at legacy Stephen Jaques Stone James in the early 1980s before moving on to Herbert Smith in London. She then came back to Australia to Mallesons Stephen Jaques before being appointed as partner at Henry Davis York. She led the firm as managing partner until 2014, before coming back to KWM in 2015.

In addition to Cook, NAB has also appointed former NSW premier and treasurer Mike Baird as chief customer officer, corporate and institutional banking, and American and former Barclaycard global COO Patrick Wright as CTO.

Meanwhile, McFarlane transitions to BlueRock Partners after being part of Hall & Wilcox for nearly 20 years. BlueRock Group offers entrepreneurs accounting, law, wealth management, and technology solutions, with BlueRock Partners providing technology-enabled legal solutions to entrepreneurs. McFarlane, who specialises in mergers and acquisitions and franchising, joins partner Dan Holdsworth.

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