Sydney, Australia


Three Australia-based partners from different global law firms have taken the rare step of jumping to local firms.

Sydney-based construction partner Graham Read has left Norton Rose Fulbright for Clayton Utz; Melbourne-based construction partner Daniel Middleton has moved from Baker McKenzie to Gadens; and Brisbane-based health and safety partner Harold Downes has made the move from Herbert Smith Freehills to Mills Oakley.

Read specializes in construction, infrastructure and engineering services projects, advising on procurement and contractual arrangements. He joined Henry Davis York in 2014 and stayed after its merger with Norton Rose Fulbright in December 2017. Previously, Read was a partner at Ashurst.

Middleton has a broad practice, advising on drafting and negotiating contracts, construction and procurement of projects and the subsequent operation, maintenance, leasing and sale of assets. He joined Baker McKenzie in 2007 and made partner in 2012. Before that, Middleton was at legacy Blake Dawson.

Downes joined Mills Oakley to launch a national workplace health and safety practice. He advises on governance, training and strategy, as well as regulatory enforcement, litigation, crisis management and incident response. He had been a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, via legacy Freehills, since 2002.

It is rare for partners to leave global firms for independent Australian firms. The few examples include DLA Piper’s head of real estate in Melbourne, Jane Baddeley, who left for Hall & Wilcox in October; and Sydney-based real estate partner Andrew Steele, who jumped to Clayton Utz in July.

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