Sydney, Australia.
Sydney, Australia. (Credit: africanpix/iStockphoto.com)

PwC has hired former Clifford Chance partners Mark Pistilli and Danny Simmons for its fast-growing Australian legal arm.

Corporate partners Pistilli and Simmons, whose former firm Chang Pistilli & Simmons was taken over by Clifford Chance in 2011, left the Magic Circle firm in February and launched their own boutique, Pistilli Simmons, this May. Pistilli was previously Australia managing partner at Clifford Chance.

Pistilli Simmons partner Joni Henry and consultant Jane Ann Grey are also joining the pair at the accountancy firm.

“Our sense at the beginning of this year was that all the English firms in the Australian market were getting smaller,” Pistilli told Legal Week. “It seemed to us that model wasn’t going to sustain itself going forward.”

Pistilli said the market will be unrecognizable in five years compared with what it is today, and the offering that will grow is the accounting firms.

Pistilli said he and Simmons were impressed by PwC’s clients.

“They act for more companies—in one capacity or another—than any law firm in the market, so it offered us the chance to sell a package of legal, accountancy advisory and corporate advisory,” he said.

The hires follow the addition of three new partners to PwC Australia in August: banking and finance partner Paul Saward, who joined from Herbert Smith Freehills, where he was a senior associate; employment partner Andrew Farr from Australian law firm Lander & Rogers; and project finance partner Tony Holland, the former Australia chairman of DLA Piper, from Gilbert + Tobin.

“We set ourselves the goal of building a premium legal practice in areas that strongly complement our broader deals, tax and consulting offerings,” said PwC’s Australia and Asia-Pacific legal head Tony O’Malley. “That goal has quickly become a reality.”

The firm now has 18 partners and over 70 lawyers across its Australian legal arm.

PwC has hired former Clifford Chance partners Mark Pistilli and Danny Simmons for its fast-growing Australian legal arm.

Corporate partners Pistilli and Simmons, whose former firm Chang Pistilli & Simmons was taken over by Clifford Chance in 2011, left the Magic Circle firm in February and launched their own boutique, Pistilli Simmons, this May. Pistilli was previously Australia managing partner at Clifford Chance .

Pistilli Simmons partner Joni Henry and consultant Jane Ann Grey are also joining the pair at the accountancy firm.

“Our sense at the beginning of this year was that all the English firms in the Australian market were getting smaller,” Pistilli told Legal Week. “It seemed to us that model wasn’t going to sustain itself going forward.”

Pistilli said the market will be unrecognizable in five years compared with what it is today, and the offering that will grow is the accounting firms.

Pistilli said he and Simmons were impressed by PwC’s clients.

“They act for more companies—in one capacity or another—than any law firm in the market, so it offered us the chance to sell a package of legal, accountancy advisory and corporate advisory,” he said.

The hires follow the addition of three new partners to PwC Australia in August: banking and finance partner Paul Saward, who joined from Herbert Smith Freehills , where he was a senior associate; employment partner Andrew Farr from Australian law firm Lander & Rogers; and project finance partner Tony Holland, the former Australia chairman of DLA Piper , from Gilbert + Tobin.

“We set ourselves the goal of building a premium legal practice in areas that strongly complement our broader deals, tax and consulting offerings,” said PwC’s Australia and Asia-Pacific legal head Tony O’Malley. “That goal has quickly become a reality.”

The firm now has 18 partners and over 70 lawyers across its Australian legal arm.