BLP turns to Oz to fill UK projects roles

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has gone down under to recruit associates for its projects practice due to a lack of capacity in the UK market.

Jonathan Simpson, head of the firm’s international projects and project finance group, led a trip to Australia and New Zealand in April for his fast-expanding practice.

Simpson told The Lawyer: “We’ve had nearly 100 per cent acceptance of our offers; we put offers out to 12 lawyers and 11 have accepted.”

The lawyers are all between two and four years PQE and have joined from the top firms in the region, including Allens Arthur Robinson, Clayton Utz, Minter Ellison and Freehills. Five of the new recruits are already at BLP, with the rest expected to join during the next few months.

City firms are increasingly targeting Commonwealth countries to fill roles as competition in the UK intensifies.

Simpson, himself an Antipodean, said the recruits are not at the expense of UK candidates: “We, of course, look to recruit from the UK, but there’s a lack of capacity in the English market. There’s a lot of demand for projects lawyers.”

Simpson moved to BLP from Dewey Ballentine in October with a remit to win more overseas work.