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Released 02/16

Three new Principals and more senior lawyers for Gilchrist Connell

Specialist insurance law firm Gilchrist Connell continues to grow with the recent appointments of three new Principals and two senior lawyers.

In response to consistently growing client demand, Gilchrist Connell announces five new senior appointments across three of its offices: three Principals – Katherine Czoch and Clare Branch (Sydney), John-Paul Wilson (Perth), and two Special Counsel – Amanda Kailis in Perth and Dylan Steel in Adelaide.

Katherine’s appointment adds further depth and experience to Gilchrist Connell’s financial lines and D&O capability. Katherine brings more than 16 years experience advising Australian, American and London insurers across major commercial and SME lines of insurance. Having been recognised by Chambers & Partners in 2012 and 2013 and applauded by clients for her accurate and commercial advice, the relationships she builds with insureds and her early resolution of disputes, Katherine’s appointment is an excellent complement to Gilchrist Connell’s no-nonsense approach to insurance litigation.

Clare has been Special Counsel in Gilchrist Connell’s Sydney office since 2013. Her background includes high- level experience across Australia and in London, and her particular specialty is in the defence of professional negligence and directors and officers’ claims, acting for solicitors, financial planners, brokers, builders, surveyors and real estate agents. She also has experience in coronial inquiries and commissions of inquiry, as well as defending prosecutions by ASIC and the ACCC, and has acted for directors in Australia’s most significant and long-running insurance cases. Clare acted in the litigation arising from the takeover of GIO by AMP and has completed secondments at several insurers, as well as at the ACCC. Her recent in-house role included responsibility for oversight of Asia-based claims and she has a deep understanding of that market. Clare acted on behalf of a reinsurance broker in the HIH Royal Commission and subsequent long running litigation, as well as acting for a director in the James Hardie Special Commission of Inquiry.

John-Paul Wilson’s proven specialisation in liability claims will take Gilchrist Connell’s already strong capability in this area to the next level, both in Western Australia and nationally. John-Paul has practised in the area of insurance law almost exclusively since commencing articles in 1992, acting for insurers and self-insurers in the defence of workers’ compensation claims, employers’ indemnity claims, public and product liability claims, property damage claims, complex indemnity disputes and recoveries. He conducted the well-known Highway Hauliers decision to the High Court, with success at every level.

Managing Principal Richard Wood said, “These three Principal appointments – one promotion and two lateral hires – mark an exciting stage as we continue to evolve and grow with the market. We’re particularly thrilled to see more women taking on high-ranking roles both in our firm and private practice generally. It’s a very welcome development. We now have six female Principals out of a total of 18. We started with one out of six, so five of our last 12 Principal appointments have been female. We’re getting better at creating an environment which offers flexibility and real career choice to everyone, I hope.”

As well as expanding the firm’s leadership ranks, Gilchrist Connell has added two experienced senior solicitors to its team – Special Counsel Amanda Kailis, and Dylan Steel.

Amanda has practised law in a number of jurisdictions  in Australia and overseas, including the UK and New Zealand. During that time she has represented corporate and individual clients in a wide range of commercial disputes. Her experience as a senior lawyer at the

Commonwealth DPP acting for ASIC and the ATO gives her a strong background in D&O and regulatory enforcement issues from both sides of the fence. Amanda also has extensive experience as a member of both commercial  and not-for-profit boards.

Dylan has previously worked for other national insurance firms in Australia and the UK, as well as in-house for an international group of P&I clubs. Dylan brings to the firm extensive experience acting in a broad range of matters including professional indemnity, public & product liability, workers’ compensation & safety, dust disease litigation, marine & transport claims.

“Once again, it is client demand nationally that has created the need for these four new lateral appointments and Clare’s promotion to Principal. We’re really pleased and excited that these senior industry professionals have chosen Gilchrist Connell as the place to take the next step in their careers,” said Richard.

“The constant competitive pressures faced by our insurer clients, big and small, mean they demand – rightly –  that their legal providers bring to bear leading insurance expertise on any insurance product in any area of Australia. These appointments greatly enhance our existing capability in D&O, compliance and marine claims nationally plus casualty and statutory classes in SA, NT and WA,” he said.

Gilchrist Connell is a dedicated insurance law and defendant-side litigation law firm, which operates throughout Australia from offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

For further information or  an interview, please contact:

Richard Wood, Managing Principal, Adelaide

Direct: +618 8215 7001

Mobile: 0403 069 807