DLA Piper has considerably strengthened its corporate practice in Australia with the appointment of two partners from leading local firms, veteran Bryan Pointon from Gilbert + Tobin and David Ryan from Ashurst Australia.
Private equity specialist Pointon has been a partner in Gilbert + Tobin’s corporate practice since 2007. Prior to that, he was a partner for 10 years at King & Wood Mallesons legacy firm Mallesons Stephen Jacques.
He also spent time as a young lawyer with Latham & Watkins in New York.
Ryan, meanwhile, was made partner at ‘Big Six’ Australian Blake Dawson in 2009, which subsequently rebranded to Ashurst when the UK and Australian firms announced their intention to merge by 2014.
Both partners will be based in DLA’s Sydney office, with Pointon also becoming head of corporate for Asia.
Sir Nigel Knowles, co-global CEO of DLA Piper, reiterated that Asia was key to the firm’s strategy of becoming ‘the leading global business law firm’ and that ‘the addition of lawyers of Bryan and David’s calibre moves us closer to achieving our goals’.
‘The firm is committed to bolstering its corporate capabilities internationally. Bryan and David are two very accomplished lawyers who will be significant additions to our team,’ added Charles Severs, international head of corporate at DLA Piper.
The two additions will provide a welcome fillip to DLA, which enjoyed a long-established relationship with Phillips Fox in Australia before the relationship was formalised in 2011 when the Australian firm became part of the DLA Piper global network.
But while the Australian operation has notable strengths in insurance, real estate and projects, it has been noticeably weaker than its larger international and domestic rivals in Australia for M&A – something the new additions should help remedy.
DLA Piper moved earlier in the year to strengthen its Australia offering by relocating global board member and COO Andrew Darwin to become managing partner in Australia.
Darwin said: ‘These appointments signal our commitment to develop our corporate practice in Australia and across Asia Pacific. We believe that they are the kind of individuals who are well-aligned with our objective and will bring new relationships and capabilities which will enhance our practice and the service to our clients, both domestic and international.’