|Headquarters||1 Bligh Street |
|No. of offices||6|
|No. of employees||1,600+|
|Major practice areas||Full service commercial law|
|Revenue||AUD$436 million (2013)|
|Profit per equity partner||AUD$1.5 million (2011/12)|
Clayton Utz is an Australian law firm headquartered in Sydney, Australia. Established in 1833, it is generally considered a leading law firm, and has been known as one of the "Big Six" Australian law firms.
Clayton Utz is a full-service law firm, and provides legal services in a wide variety of practice areas. The primary focus of the firm is in the realm of commercial law, although it has broad competence in a large number of practice areas.[note 1]
The firm manages the affairs of clients across jurisdictions, and retains dual-qualified lawyers.[note 2] It is a member of international legal networks such as Lex Mundi and the Pacific Rim Advisory Council.
Notable legal work
The firm has undertaken several high-profile matters including Toll Holdings' takeover of Patrick Corporation, Mayne Group's de-merger, and Tattersall's historic A$2.17 billion IPO and listing. The firm's corporate team has acted for AMP on its A$14 billion acquisition of AXA Pacific Holdings and represented the Singapore Exchange on its proposed merger with ASX.
Pro bono work
The firm provides pro bono legal services supporting charities, non-profits, and vulnerable clients. The firm claims to average over 50 hours of pro bono work per lawyer at the firm. It employs two partners to run its pro bono practice, which was established in 1997. Although the firm is required to undertake a certain amount of pro-bono work to be eligible for government tenders, it is likely that it exceeds those requirements.
McCabe v British American Tobacco
It has been alleged that the firm arranged for its clients to destroy legally damaging documents. These allegations arose out of a litigation brought by a smoker Rolah McCabe, against British American Tobacco in 2002. The presiding judge for the trial found that Clayton Utz had enabled BAT to engage in a document retention policy which destroyed documents implicating the company. On appeal it was found that the firm's conduct was not unlawful. The court's reasoning was described in the Sydney Morning Herald as 'profoundly unsatisfying'. In reaction to the decision, Victorian laws about document retention were strengthened by parliament.
In 2006 it was revealed that an internal investigation by Clayton Utz had implicated its partner; finding he had engaged in professional misconduct. That partner, Glenn Eggleton, was found to have given 'potentially perjurious' evidence, and to have taken advantage of McCabe's limited life expectancy while conducting the litigation. Eggleton denied these allegations.
In the aftermath of the McCabe litigation Clayton Utz closed its tobacco claims practice.
Sexual harassment allegations
In 2011 Clayton Utz was sued in negligence for having failed to prevent sexual harassment at the firm. Emails had been circulated among graduate lawyers in the firm about another female graduate lawyer. Clayton Utz was found not liable, as the court did not find that its partners ought reasonably to have prevented the correspondence. The lawyer subject to the lawsuit resigned shortly after settlement of the suit.
Notable alumni of the firm include:
- John Howard OM, AC, 25th Prime Minister of Australia, from 1996-2007.
- Julie Bishop MP, 38th Minister of Foreign Affairs.
- Christian Porter MP, 37th Attorney-General for Australia, former Treasurer and Attorney-General of Western Australia.
- Brigitte Markovic, Judge, Federal Court of Australia.
- Anthony Fisher, 9th Catholic Archbishop of Sydney.
Clayton Utz was named Australian Law Firm of the Year at the 2018 Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards.
- Areas of practice known to be practiced by Clayton Utz include: banking and finance, capital markets and securities, competition, compliance, construction and projects, corporate / mergers and acquisitions, environment and planning, insurance, intellectual property, international arbitration, legal technology support, litigation and dispute resolution, native title, product liability, real estate, restructuring and insolvency, taxation, telecommunications, media and technology, and employment/industrial relations law.
- Jurisdictions in which the firm regularly deals include the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Japan and India.
- Clayton Utz. "About: Offices - Sydney, Australia". www.claytonutz.com. Archived from the original on 9 April 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
- "Clayton Utz Expertise - Expertise - Clayton Utz". Claytonutz.com. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
- "Clayton Utz suffers 4pc revenue decline amid job cuts". Afr.com. 6 September 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
- "How much do lawyers earn?". Afr.com. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
- "Lex Mundi: The Worlds Leading Law Firm Network". Lexmundi.com. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
- Australian Government, The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) (2021). "Australian Suppliers Directory - Austrade". www.austrade.gov.au. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
- Kenneth Nguyen (22 May 2007), Stags in Slater & Gordon share some class action - a 40% win (The Sydney Morning Herald), John Fairfax Holdings Limited., p. 21,
Though Slater & Gordon is a well-known law firm, its market capitalisation of $151 million would be dwarfed if any of Australia's "big six" law firms - Allens Arthur Robinson, Blake Dawson Waldron, Clayton Utz, Freehills, Mallesons Stephen Jaques and Minter Ellison - decided to float.
- "Independent law firms: The case for staying local". Brw.com.au. 15 August 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
- "Chambers and Partners directory". Chamber and Partners. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- Kirsty Simpson; Rod Myer; Malcolm Maiden (13 May 2006). "Crash of the Titans". The Age.
- "ASX announcement and media release". ASX. 17 June 2005.
- "Float creates new millionaire factory". The Australian. 3 June 2005.
- "The Legal 500". Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- "Pro Bono Lawyers | Australia | Clayton Utz - About - Clayton Utz". www.claytonutz.com. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
- "Australian Pro Bono Centre | Government Tender Arrangements". Retrieved 12 September 2020.
- "Reconciliation". Clayton Utz. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
- "Clayton Utz and the environment". Clayton Utz. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
- "Media Statement". Clayton Utz. 6 December 2002. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
- Ackland, Richard (15 December 2006). "The importance of being earnest". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
- "The importance of being earnest". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 December 2006. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
- "Clayton Utz to close tobacco claims litigation practice". Clayton Utz. 18 July 2002. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
- "Clayton Utz lawyer Luis Izzo exposed as a rude e-male". News.com.au. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
Justice Lucy McCallum said the asterisks used in the email written by lawyer [...] were "presumably" in place of the word f...[sic] "so as to avoid the gaze of any electronic gate-keeper". She described [...] comments about women lawyers as "no advertisement for male sensitivity" [...] "It is difficult to decide whether it is more surprising that the remarks were made at all (after over a century of feminism) or that a lawyer recorded them in an email (after seven centuries of subpoenas)," [she] wrote in her judgment.
- "Styles v Clayton Utz (No. 3)  NSWSC 1452, 143". Caselaw.nsw.gov. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
- Errington, Wayne; Van Onselen, Peter (2007), John Winston Howard: The Biography, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, ISBN 978-0-522-85334-6
- "Hon Julie Bishop MP – Parliament of Australia". 19 August 2020. Archived from the original on 19 August 2020. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
- "Christian Porter: Lawyer's lawyer, but attorney-general of the people". Australian Financial Review. 1 February 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
- "The Hon Brigitte Sandra Markovic". Federal Court of Australia. 24 August 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
- "Clayton Utz partner appointed to the Federal Court of Australia". Clayton Utz. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
- "Archbishop-elect Anthony Fisher pledges a humbler Catholic Church: 'No excuses, no cover-ups'". Sydney Morning Herald. 20 September 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2021.