(l-r) Kylie Maxwell, Warren Denny and Lyndal Draper. (l-r) Kylie Maxwell, Warren Denny and Lyndal Draper.

A four-lawyer real estate team in Brisbane, Australia, and two intellectual property partners in Sydney, have left K&L Gates for Australian firms Piper Alderman and MinterEllison, respectively.*

The Brisbane real estate team, led by partner Warren Denny, focuses on real estate transactions, including leasing, acquisition and sales. Denny joins Piper Alderman after 31 years at K&L Gates and its predecessor firms in Australia. He first joined Brisbane-based firm Flower & Hart in 1988 and stayed through its 2012 merger with national firm Middletons; in 2013, Middletons itself merged with K&L Gates.

The team also includes special counsel Kylie Maxwell and Lyndal Draper, who practised with Denny for 19 and 10 years, respectively.

Denny said in a statement that his team joined Piper Alderman because the firm’s national offering was what his team aimed to achieve when legacy Flower & Hart merged with Middletons. “In addition, and importantly, the firm provides long-term career opportunities for my team,” he added.

In Sydney, IP partners Simone Mitchell and Nigel Lokan join MinterEllison. Both focus on patent litigation in the pharmaceutical and mining sectors; Mitchell also advises in biopharmaceuticals, genetic technologies, medical devices, agriculture, telecommunications and consumer goods, while Lokan also advises in life sciences, food technology, process engineering, agriculture, materials and biotechnology.*

Mitchell leaves K&L Gates after three years with the firm. Previously, she was a partner at DLA Piper and practised at Australian firm Clayton Utz and legacy Mallesons Stephen Jaques. Lokan joined K&L Gates in 2013 and made partner in 2017. He previously practised at IP specialist firms Davies Collison Cave and Spruson & Ferguson.*

Since January, K&L Gates’ Sydney office also lost restructuring and insolvency partner Danielle Funston to Australian firm Maddocks, while adding infrastructure partners Simon Ashworth and Matthew Baumgurtel from Corrs Chambers Westgarth and in-house at Madrid-based Fotowatio Renewable Ventures B.V, respectively. In Melbourne, K&L Gates hired real estate partner Randall Gerkens in November, also from Corrs.

The Pittsburgh-based firm has 67 partners in Australia, according to its website – eight in Brisbane, 23 in Sydney, 29 in Melbourne and seven in Perth.*

*Updated April 12: The first, fifth, sixth and eighth paragraphs of this story have been updated to reflect that Nigel Lokan also left K&L Gates for MinterEllison.

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