Clayton Utz

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Clayton Utz
Clayton Utz
Headquarters 1 Bligh Street
Sydney, Australia[1]
No. of offices 6
No. of employees 1,200+
Major practice areas Full service commercial law[2]
Revenue Increase AUD$436 million (2013)[3]
Profit per equity partner AUD$1.5 million (2011/12)[4]
Date founded 1833[5]
Founder George Robert Nichols
Company type Partnership

Clayton Utz is an Australian law firm headquartered in Sydney, Australia.[6] Established in 1833, it is a member of the Big Six of elite Australian law firms and one of the most prestigious and profitable law firms in the Asia-Pacific region.[7] With annual revenue in excess of $436 million, 175 partners and over 1,200 personnel in six offices, it is the largest independent law firm in Australia.[8][9]

Legal services[edit]

The firm provides legal services in 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.

'Top Tier' firm recognition[edit]

Clayton Utz partners and practice areas have variously been recognised by their peers and clients in the Legal 500 as highly ranked throughout Australasia. Practice areas in the firm that have achieved Tier One status include Construction and Major Projects, Corporate and M&A, Dispute Resolution, Projects and Infrastructure, Real Estate, and Transport.[10]

Significant legal work[edit]

The firm is known for its work in several high-profile matters including Toll Holdings' takeover of Patrick Corporation,[11] Mayne Group's de-merger,[12] and Tattersall’s historic A$2.17 billion IPO and listing.[13]

The firm's corporate team has acted for AMP on its A$14bn acquisition of AXA Pacific Holdings and represented the Singapore Exchange on its proposed merger with ASX. The group has also played to its traditional strength in the resources sector, having acted for a number of clients including Noble Group, Barrick Gold and Fortescue Metals.[10]

International experience[edit]

Clayton Utz manages transactions for domestic and international clients from a range of jurisdictions, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Japan and India. The firm has many dual-qualified lawyers.

Clayton Utz has relationships with firms around the world and is a member of a number of international legal networks, including Lex Mundi and Pacific Rim Advisory Council.[14]

Pro bono and social responsibility[edit]

The firm's programs seek to respond to unmet legal need; support charities and community organisations with financial grants and in-kind support; create positive change in the lives of Indigenous Australians; and minimise its impact on the environment.

Clayton Utz adopted a Corporate Citizenship Policy in 2002 and established the Clayton Utz Foundation in 2003 as the first ever Private Ancillary Fund at an Australian law firm. Since 2003, the Clayton Utz Foundation has made over $7.3 million in grants to 212 charities.[15]

In March 2010, the firm launched its Reconciliation Action Plan,[16] and in 2011 became a foundation member of the Australian Legal Sector Alliance to promote sustainable practices across the profession.[17]

In July 2015, Clayton Utz achieved the milestone of 500,000 hours of pro bono legal assistance and representation to disadvantaged individuals who could not obtain Legal Aid, and not-for-profit organisations. This is the most pro bono work ever conducted by an Australian law firm, or by any firm outside of the United States.[18]

Clayton Utz has acted on a pro bono basis for nearly 4,000 people and over 1,000 not-for-profit organisations, and assisted thousands more people at 36 different outreach legal advice clinics.[19]


In 2006 Clayton Utz was investigated by the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions, having been alleged to have engaged in criminal conduct during the course of the 2002 litigation brought by Rolah McCabe. During the course of the trial it was revealed that Clayton Utz ran a "document retention policy" which was said to have involved "getting rid of everything that was damaging in a way that would not rebound on the company or the British American Tobacco Group as a whole".[20] This included incriminating documents that outlined the extent of BAT's knowledge of the health effects of smoking. Glenn Eggleton, a former managing partner of the firm, was said to have given evidence that was "potentially perjurious".[21]

An appeal against the ruling of the Supreme Court of Victoria in the matter of McCabe v BATAS was upheld by the Victorian Court of Appeal which exonerated Clayton Utz of any wrongdoing in relation to advice given by the firm to BATAS regarding its document management.[22] In 2002 Clayton Utz closed its tobacco claims litigation practice. [23]

In 2011, Clayton Utz was subject to a sexual harassment claim after allegations of inappropriate emails being circulated among graduate lawyers in the firm about a female graduate lawyer.[24] The lawyer in question referred to female co-workers as "crazy single female chicks" who "just need[ed] a good **** to get them back to normal".[25] In making an order, McCallum J noted "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 over seven centuries of subpoenas)."[25]

Clayton Utz was found not liable for the emails as there was no way the "partners of Clayton Utz ought reasonably to have prevented such correspondence".[26] The lawyer in question resigned shortly after the case was settled.


Notable alumni of the firm include:

External links[edit]


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  10. ^ Kirsty Simpson; Rod Myer; Malcolm Maiden (13 May 2006). "Crash of the Titans". The Age. 
  11. ^ "ASX announcement and media release". ASX. 17 June 2005. 
  12. ^ "Float creates new millionaire factory". The Australian. 3 June 2005. 
  13. ^ "Chambers and Partners directory". Chamber and Partners. Retrieved 2011-03-23. 
  14. ^ "The Clayton Utz Foundation". Clayton Utz. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  15. ^ "Reconciliation". Clayton Utz. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  16. ^ "Clayton Utz and the environment". Clayton Utz. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  17. ^ "Clayton Utz marks 500,000 pro bono hours milestone by funding new Health Justice Partnerships centre". Clayton Utz. 2015-07-08. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  18. ^ "Our Pro Bono Practice". Clayton Utz. 2015-07-07. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  19. ^ "Law firm Clayton Utz faces criminal investigation". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 21 December 2006. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  20. ^ "The importance of being earnest". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 December 2006. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  21. ^ "Media Statement". Clayton Utz. 2002-12-06. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  22. ^ "Clayton Utz to close tobacco claims litigation practice". Clayton Utz. 2002-07-18. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  23. ^ "Clayton Utz lawyer Luis Izzo exposed as a rude e-male". 30 November 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2011. 
  24. ^ a b "Styles v Clayton Utz (No. 3) [2011] NSWSC 1452, 143". 
  25. ^ "Styles v Clayton Utz (No. 3) [2011] NSWSC 1452, 144". 
  26. ^ "Clayton Utz congratulates Joe Catanzariti on appointment to Fair Work Commission". Clayton Utz. 2013-04-02. Retrieved 2016-04-15. 
  27. ^ "The Hon Brigitte Sandra Markovic". Federal Court of Australia. 2015-08-24. Retrieved 2016-04-15. 
  28. ^ "Clayton Utz partner appointed to the Federal Court of Australia". Clayton Utz. 2015-08-12. Retrieved 2016-04-15.