Australian mid-tier firm Johnson Winter takes trio from Corrs

Australian firm Johnson Winter & Slattery (JWS) has hired three corporate partners from Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s Sydney office in a bit to broaden its cross-border M&A capability.

The three partners, James Rozsa, Jeremy Davis and Byron Koster, join from the Sydney office of Corrs, where they are all partners. All three focus on cross-border transactions.

During their time with Corrs, Rozsa and Koster advised Vodafone Group on its 2009 $6bn merger with Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia). Davis’s deal highlights include advising Foster’s Group on the demerger of its beer and wine businesses in 2010 and advising on BP’s acquisition of Australia’s Reliance Petroleum in the same year. He served as Corrs’ chairman of international strategy prior to joining JWS.

“Adding further depth to the firm in these areas is important to the firm given inbound investment in Australian industry is expected to remain strong,” said JWS managing partner Peter Slattery.

It is understood that the firm intends to remain independent and develop non-exclusive relationships with a small number of foreign law firms rather than look for an international merger.

The addition of the three partners will push the total number of the firm’s partners to 60 across its offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Corrs is one of Australia’s largest independent law firms with 535 lawyers including over 120 partners. It reported a turnover of A$265m in the 2011/12 financial year. The firm recently lost three corporate partners to Norton Rose in Sydney (7 March 2013).