Allen & Overy adds first litigation partner in Perth

Allen & Overy has extended its litigation practice to Perth with the hire of partner Mark van Brakel from Australian firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

Van Brakel joins Allen & Overy from Corrs’ Perth office, where he has been a partner for three years. Prior to joining Corrs, he spent 13 years with Clayton Utz.

His litigation practice has a particular focus on the energy and resources sector. Van Brakel has acted for leading corporations in the energy and resources sector on matters ranging from major engineering, project and joint venture disputes and arbitrations through to director and shareholder disputes. He has also acted in significant regulatory investigations and civil penalty proceedings.

Van Brakel will be the lead litigation partner in Perth and extend A&O’s offering in Perth. Tim House, A&O’s global head of litigation said in a statement the latest appointment is a necessary step in meeting client demand for the firm’s offering.

His appointment comes two years after A&O launched its litigation and regulatory investigations practice in Australia with the hire of Sydney litigation partner John Samaha (21 November 2011). Samaha was a partner of Mallesons Stephen Jaques for 12 years before he set up his own practice, Samaha & Associates, in January 2009.

The latest appointment brings A&O’s Australian partner number to 21.

A&O launched into Australia in 2010 with a group of 17 partners from various local firms (8 February 2010). It lost two partners in Sydney last year, competition partner Dave Poddar and finance partner Angela Flannery. Poddar joined Clifford Chance’s Sydney office in January while Flannery’s next move is yet to be confirmed (17 January 2013).

Van Brakel’s former firm Corrs has also suffered a series of partner departures across its three offices since the beginning of this year (7 March 2013). In Perth, apart from van Brakel, it has lost several partners to Minter Ellison, including former co-head of China practice Adam Handley, infrastructure partner Richard Guit and competition partner Matthew Knox.