In what was typically described as a buoyant, but nonetheless patchy, twelve months for South Australia’s energy and resources lawyers the most important market recent market development was the entrant of yet another large national firm into the Adelaide legal market, one which is specifically targeting the state’s growing body of energy and resources work.
Three years after Ashurst (then Blake Dawson) established an Adelaide office to cater to work flowing from key client BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam project, fellow top-tier firm Freehills has followed client workflows and is now looking to set up shop in the City of Churches. While the Freehills office is, at present, conducted on a fly in/fly out basis, the firm looks set to have a permanent Adelaide office this calendar year once various regulatory approvals and formalities have been completed. With Freehills most likely set to target work flowing from the likes of Santos and BHP Billiton the firm should have both local firms and Ashurst looking over their shoulders.
Although the South Australian legal market’s low hourly rates and fierce competition have typically prevent national firms from either establishing or maintaining an Adelaide office that dynamic now looks to have changed.
Amongst our list of leading firms it’s the stronger local firms who continue to dominate albeit that energy and resources specialist firm Watsons Lawyers given each of these firms a run for their money within the junior resources space. Likewise Ashurst’s Adelaide office appears to be gaining an increasing level of market acceptance.
Andrew Corletto – Kelly & Co
James Marshall – Johnson Winter & Slattery
George McKenzie – Finlaysons
Ewan Vickery – Minter Ellison
Tanya Denning – Ashurst
Michael Durrant – Kelly & Co
Kent Grey – Minter Ellison
Anthony Groom – Johnson Winter & Slattery
Peter Watson – Watsons Lawyers
Julia Dnistrianski – Finalysons
Lucy Gauvin – Watsons Lawyers
Neville Martin – Minter Ellison
Egils Olekalns – Hunt & Hunt
Abigail Steed – McDonald Steed McGrath
Ashley Watson – Piper Alderman