Norton Rose Fulbright will form a first-of-its-kind joint venture focusing on commercial work related to Australia’s indigenous community.
The joint venture, called Jaramer Legal, will be formed with Melbourne-based corporate boutique Mailman Law and led by its founding partner and indigenous Australian Bevan Mailman. An official launch date has not yet been set.
Jaramer Legal will focus on advising governments and corporations on the procurement and execution of indigenous-related projects and business ventures in Australia.
In 2015, the Australian government launched the Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP), an initiative to stimulate the indigenous business sector. The initiative includes allocating procurement contracts to indigenous businesses. As of June 2017, 4,880 contracts worth a total of more than $400 million were awarded to 956 indigenous-owned businesses under the IPP.
Norton Rose Fulbright said in a statement that Jaramer Legal will be uniquely placed to assist both the government departments and agencies and private companies with their responses to the IPP.
Broader efforts are underway to promote equality for indigenous Australians, who have suffered a long history of racism in the country. Since 2008, the Australian government has been publishing an annual “Closing the Gap” report tracking the progress of equality for the indigenous people across targets in health, education and employment.
“The time is right to establish such a unique JV to provide greater representation and empower ourselves as indigenous Australians to have greater influence in the legal and political landscapes, as well as taking a meaningful part in the development of wealth for our nation,” said Mailman’s Brian Bero, also an indigenous Australian, in a statement.
Norton Rose Fulbright will have a minority interest in Jaramer Legal and three partners will occupy half of the six board seats: Melbourne office head and dispute specialist Peter Cash, Australia deputy managing partner and national government practice head Michael Greene and environment and planning partner Rebecca Hoare. The remaining board members are Mailman principals Mailman and Bero, and management consultancy Indigenous Professional Services director Kristal Kinsela.
The global legal giant will also provide capital, premises and lawyers on secondment to Jaramer Legal.