The newly appointed chief executive of an Australian big six law firm has rejected the view that top tier firms are just 'treading water' and unable to achieve growth
Tony Harrington, who was named as Minter Ellison's new CEO earlier this week, has told Australasian Lawyer in an interview following his appointment that "there is a lot of opportunity for growth".
"To borrow a quote from American politics - destiny is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice,” Harrington told Australasian Lawyer.
Harrington believes that if firms adopt what he calls an “integrated law” approach to the market, they will be better equipped to take on the challenges of today’s competitive legal environment.
“By taking a broader view in relation to solving client issues and challenges, and by being more integrated and connected, firms can use all of their capability."
Harrington said an integrated offering - by doing things such as pooling M&A with regulatory and tax expertise - is part of his vision for Minter Ellison.
Harrington also explained it was crucial for his new firm to get the message out that it is a technology-savvy 21st century legal business.
A professional services heavyweight, Harrington was recruited in the hope he can assist with firm growth and client engagement ambitions. He comes from a distinguished career in professional services, having served as a senior partner and chief executive of PwC in Australia for eight years. He expects this past experience to be of benefit.
“If you look at the performance of PwC during my time there you can see that we created the dominant professional services firm,” he said.
“I'm delighted to be joining Minter Ellison at this dynamic time in the legal profession, which faces increasing competition, changing client needs and, like many industries today, the disruptive forces of new technology."
He is to replace John Weber on 1 July, who has served in the role since 2009. Harrington said he will be spending his first weeks in the job by simply trying to get around and meet the staff.
“The key part in professional services is getting around the business and getting a good feel for the people to understand in a lot more details the capabilities of what is clearly a very good firm."