Bakers to open in Brisbane with Clayton Utz and Allens hires

Baker & McKenzie is in the process of opening a third office in Australia with the hire of two partners in Brisbane.

Baker & McKenzie has hired a partner each from leading Australian firms Clayton Utz and Allens in a bid to launch an office in Brisbane in the coming month.

The firm is understood to have recruited Darren Fooks from Clayton Utz’s Brisbane office and Jo Daniels from Allens’ Brisbane office for the planned expansion.

Fooks has been a partner of Clayton Utz since 1997 and his practice focuses mainly on energy and natural resources. During his time at the firm, he has advised a large number of project developments and transactions of mining, oil and gas, infrastructure and electricity projects across Asia Pacific.

Daniels joined Allens, Linklaters’ Australian ally, in June 2012 from Middletons, which merged with K&L Gates in January 2013 (4 December 2012). Prior to Middletons, she was a partner at Clayton Utz for five years.

The firm is thought to be still in the process of finalising the Brisbane launch but has not yet a set timetable. The story first appeared in Australian publication Lawyers Weekly, which suggested the launch would take place in either June or July this year.

The Brisbane office will be the firm’s first expansion in Australia in three decades. It opened its first office there in Sydney in 1964 and in Melbourne in 1982. Currently, the firm has a total of 83 partners and 166 other lawyers in Australia, which forms its largest base in Asia Pacific.

Baker & McKenzie declined to comment.