Two Birds scores four partners from rivals

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A UK-based global firm has scored four partners from rivals for its expansion in Australia.
Bird & Bird has confirmed its appointments of Sophie Dawson, Anthony Latimer, Steve Johns, and Richard Hawkins as partners in Sydney.

Shane Barber, the firm’s managing partner, said the move represents a significant milestone in its Australia development strategy.  “Our clients are focused on innovation so we have continued to build our legal talent in Australian and the Asia Pacific region in a way that responds to the needs of our global, regional and national clients who seek the best advice available for their fast moving industries,” he added.

Justin Walkey, Bird & Bird’s Asia-Pacific head, said the lateral hires come at a time of rapid expansion for the firm’s Asia-Pacific practice.

“All of our new partners are deeply involved in cross-border work across the region. Bird & Bird sees excellent opportunities for continued strategic expansion across the region as shown by our recent co-operation agreement with AllBright to support its considerable China outbound work not only in Asia-Pacific and Europe but also throughout the wider firm's international network,” Walkey said.

Bird & Bird inked the agreement with AllBright Law Offices, one of the five biggest domestic firms in China, last November.

Dawson is one of the Australia’s top media and communications law practitioners. She joins the firm’s dispute resolution practice and brings more than 22 years’ experience in litigation, arbitration, mediation, and expert determination. She comes from Ashurst, where she stayed since 1995.

Meanwhile, Latimer and Johns transfer from Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF). Latimer has a particular focus on cross-border M&A, especially in China and Papua New Guinea. He primarily acts in transactions and projects in the energy, mining, transport, and emerging technology sectors. Before NRF, Latimer was a partner at Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

Johns has a regional focus on Asia, acting for clients on cross-border M&A and joint ventures. He has extensive experience in the technology and communications sector, and has previously worked at Herbert Smith Freehills, Corrs, and Latham & Watkins.

Hawkins returns to the firm from Rugby Australia, where he was general counsel and company secretary since 2011. He was also previously with Linklaters in London. Hawkins strengthens the firm’s media, entertainment, and sports group with his experience in matters connected to sports, including in governance, rules and regulations, broadcast and sponsorship, sports club sales and acquisitions, disputes, and integrity issues.

Since April last year, Bird & Bird has added seven partners in Sydney. They include Lynne Lewis from MinterEllison and Thomas Jones from Corrs. Troy Gurnett was also promoted to partner, and Leila Moddel and Kate Renaud were made senior associates.

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