Background triangle

Media Releases

Released 06/15

New specialist Workplace Relations leader and senior Perth appointments

Following three senior appointments announced last week including new Melbourne Principal Jason Newman, Gilchrist Connell is once again delighted to announce three further additions to its teams in Melbourne and Perth.

Leading workplace relations practitioner Joel Zyngier has come on board as Special Counsel in Melbourne and now heads the firm’s Employment Practices Liability / Management Liability practice. He is an  Accredited Specialist in Workplace Relations, certified by the Law Institute of Victoria in 2012. His appointment is in direct response to the significant increase in EPL, ML and Workplace Prosecution claims over the last year or two.

The mainly Federal nature of the workplace relations jurisdiction means that Joel acts in EPL and ML claims throughout Australia, utilising the full resources of the firm’s existing EPL / ML experience across its Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Sydney offices.

“We are really delighted to have Joel on our team. He’s a well-recognised and widely quoted leader in employment law, and brings with him extensive experience in commercial workplace and safety law, as well as many years advising public and private employers and executive level employees,” said Richard Wood, the firm’s Managing Principal.

“In particular, Joel’s time in the Fair Work Commission gave him invaluable insights into the approaches and working of the Commission, and this very rare experience is greatly advantageous to his EPL and ML insurer clients,” said Richard. “We have been handling these claims for our insurer and self-insured clients over the last few years, but the sheer volume of work in this area meant that an even more focussed approach was necessary in order to continue to deliver the service required by our clients.”

Joel has acted in small and large scale employment and industrial disputes and claims, and litigated across a very broad range of workplace claims, prosecutions and disputes, applications to stop or prevent industrial action and WorkSafe investigations and prosecutions relating to employee fatalities and injuries.

In Perth, the firm has appointed Cassandra Paterson as Special Counsel and Stephen Merrick as Senior Associate. Cassandra Paterson has more than 20 years legal experience in defendant insurance and general litigation. She has a broad range of industry experience having worked for a top tier and boutique professional indemnity firm, in-house at a medical indemnity insurer and in government.

She has a thorough understanding of insurers’ legal and commercial   requirements   from   her   extensive   in-house experience, and has a full appreciation of the specific perspective and needs of her clients.

Stephen Merrick has spent a decade in defendant insurance litigation where he acted on a broad range of matters including professional indemnity, public and product liability, employers’ indemnity / workers’ compensation, marine and transport.

Gilchrist Connell Perth opened in 2011 and has since enjoyed steady expansion and offered increased services to meet the needs of the dynamic WA market.

“Our Perth office has experienced an explosion in demand for services over the last 6 to 12 months and the arrival of Cass and Stephen will provide some welcome relief for our Perth team as well as a major lift in our capacity in the West” said Richard.

“With six new, senior appointments in the last few weeks, we’re very pleased that client demand has enabled us to grow our team of leading practitioners and offer such a rich and diverse range of industry perspectives, expertise and experience to our clients,” he added.

The firm’s growth has continued year on year since opening its first offices in Sydney and Adelaide back in 2008. It now has 13 partners and around 60 lawyers operating nationally from offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.

“Insurance law is such a dynamic and challenging industry and we look forward to continuing to deliver the right service and value package for our clients,” he said.

For further information or an interview, please contact:

Richard Wood, Managing Principal, Adelaide Office

T: (08) 8215 7001

M: 0403 069 807