DWF lures two principals in Melbourne

The senior lawyers come from two national firms to boost the real estate team

DWF lures two principals in Melbourne

DWF is continuing its expansion in Australia with the addition of two new principal lawyers in Melbourne.

The global firm has announced the appointment of Andrea Towson and Richard Skopal, who will be boosting the firm’s national property, planning, and construction practice.

Scott Stewart, who heads the practice in Australia, said that Towson and Skopal add “unique knowledge” to the team. He said that DWF’s ability to attract this calibre of talent shows the strength of its emerging brand in Australia, where it launched in early 2017.

Stewart also had a pitch to lawyers who may be thinking about a lateral move. "Commercially-minded lawyers frustrated by slow-moving, traditional firms are liking what they see at DWF – a chance to make their mark as rapidly as their talent and ambition allows,” he said.

Towson moves to DWF from Arnold Bloch Leibler, where she was most recently a special counsel. A planning and development expert, she has a “whole of project” approach to development projects, the firm said.

Towson has extensive experience in complex property due diligence, planning and environment law matters, owners' corporation disputes, and compulsory acquisition claims. Her recent mandates include acting pro bono on the Collingwood Arts Precinct development and providing pro bono advice to the Robin Boyd Foundation.

Skopal is a former partner at Holding Redlich, who is known for his focus on commercial property transactions, development projects, and leasing work for both landlords and tenants.

He was the lead partner in the acquisition and ongoing development of the GMH site at Fisherman’s Bend. He has also provided advice on key assets of the Victorian government.

In November, DWF appointed Richard Abbott as principal lawyer and tasked him to be head of real estate in Australia. Abbott made the move from international firm HFW.

Last year was a busy year for the international firm in Australia. In March, it acquired a 23-lawyers firm in Melbourne as well as a loss-adjusting business in Sydney. In June, it added a partner and her 15-strong team in Melbourne. It acquired firm in the Hunter Valley in November, adding 16 lawyers to the firm.

Internationally, DWF became the first law firm to debut on the main board in London last year. Its £95m raising was also the largest ever undertaken by a law firm in the UK.

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