Gilchrist Connell posts 30% growth [December 20 – April 21]
Leading insurance sector law firm Gilchrist Connell continues to expand rapidly to meet a surge in client demand driven by the combined impact of increases in major claims, economic pressures and Covid-19. The firm negotiated 2020 without pay, hiring or promotion freezes – or furloughs – and in fact onboarded several people. Since 1 December 2020, however, the firm has seen a net increase in staff of just over 30% with several roles still at recruitment stage.
The growth has included lateral senior hires from two global firms but has predominantly been at the level of junior to mid-level lawyers across several key areas – financial lines, coverage, general casualty, sensitive claims and employment. That has come about as a number of pre-Covid growth plans have come to fruition plus a general increase in demand and some panel appointments in specific areas. This has resulted in a surge in work, requiring a substantial expansion of capacity to maintain high client service levels as the firm consolidates its market presence.
Roles have been added in all five of the firm’s offices but the greatest increases have been in Sydney and Brisbane.
“Before the outbreak of Covid19 we had been planning for growth by increasing capability and presence in a number of key areas,” said Managing Principal Richard Wood. “Then Covid hit, and we were relieved to get through the early phase of the pandemic without reducing staff levels or conditions. More recently we’ve needed to rapidly build as our clients have shown an increased need for services. Adding to this momentum, our pre-Covid plans have started to bear fruit. While we’ve never pursued growth for its own sake, we deliberately increased our capability in targeted areas which produced results at about the same time that Covid – plus a hardening insurance market – also bolstered demand. Since then, it’s been a controlled explosion – and I don’t think we’re quite done yet. Our early forecast for FY22 is for further significant demand and expansion,” he said.
“For insurance firms, it’s a seller’s market in terms of recruiting so we’re pretty pleased that we’ve been able to get great people to come to us. We’re very proud of our open, inclusive and transparent culture, and the way we came together and performed during Covid. Our new people will help build and develop this culture, which should keep us firmly on the right track during the busy months ahead – and beyond,” Richard said.
Gilchrist Connell is committed to a ‘people first’ approach and inclusive culture, and was recently recognised as a ‘2020 Employer of Choice’ winner.
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