Norton Rose adds five partners to Australasian practice

Norton Rose has continued its Pacific push with four new partners joining the firm in Australia, along with one in Singapore.

The five new hires cover a range of practice areas as the City firm continues to flex its muscle in Asia after finalising its tie-up with Deacons at the start of the year.

Robert Milbourne has joined the Brisbane energy and resources team having been general counsel and company secretary at Vale Pty, a subsidiary of Brazilian mining giant Vale.

Petar Kuessner and Gerard Breen have joined the Syndey office, where they will bolster the banking and restructuring practices respectively. Kuessner was a senior associate at Mallesons Stephen Jaques having spent four years with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London. Breen was previously a partner at Dibbs Barker Gosling.

Corporate finance partner Derek La Ferla, meanwhile, has been lured out of retirement to team up with the firm in Perth. La Feria had been a partner at Deacons until retiring in 2007.

Australian managing partner Don Boyd said the move to bring back La Feria was part of the firm’s wider Asian strategy.

“Western Australia has a significant strategic value to Norton Rose that extends beyond its booming resources industry,” he said. “Perth itself has strong links with key markets in South East Asia and particularly Singapore.”

To underline the Singapore strategy, the firm has hired former Linklaters counsel Anna Tipping as a partner to head its local insurance team. She will spend six months at Norton Rose’s City HQ before relocating to become the firm’s first insurance partner in Singapore, joining an existing team of four associates.

Tipping’s appointment follows January’s relocation of Deacons’ former commercial dispute resolution chief Peter Cash to join the Singapore litigation team (18 January 2010). Cash will take up his new role in May.

Speaking of the recent hires, Boyd added: “Globally, we’re strong in financial institutions, energy, infrastructure and commodities, technology and transport. Expect to see a lot more happening in this space soon”