AUSTRALIAN law firm Minter Ellison has cast a net over the London market in an effort to recruit a senior associate to its UK practice.

The firm, which has operated a London office for more than 20 years, is replacing Stephen Britt who leaves at the end of the year to become an in-house lawyer with Royal Insurance in the UK.

Resident partner Michael Whalley, who has worked for the firm in London for 16 years, said there was also a proposal to bring an additional lawyer in on secondment from Australia, lifting numbers in the UK practice to four.

Whalley said the secondment of a fourth lawyer had been proposed after the firm identified potential new practice areas in London.

He said the replacement for Britt, who has worked with Minter Ellison for eight years, was likely to be an Australian-qualified lawyer working in a major UK firm.

“We do a lot of work in the UK and I want to have people who are familiar with English firms and who know their way around London,” said Whalley.

“They will be dealing with English clients and they need to know what their client's UK position is as well as the Australian position.

“It will almost certainly be an Australian-qualified lawyer, which inevitably means an Australian who is admitted in Australia, has got good commercial experience with an Australian firm, and who has now had a year or two commercial experience with a big UK firm.”