Clayton Utz

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Clayton Utz
Clayton Utz
No. of offices6
No. of employees1,600+
Major practice areasFull service commercial law[2]
RevenueIncrease AUD$436 million (2013)[3]
Profit per equity partnerAUD$1.5 million (2011/12)[4]
Date founded1833; 191 years ago (1833)[5]
FounderBob Nichols
Company typePartnership

Clayton Utz is an Australian law firm headquartered in Sydney.[6] Established in 1833,[6] it is large-sized firm, known as one of the "Big Six" Australian law firms.[7] The firm is recognised for its litigation practice, government clients, pro bono services and high-profile alumni.[8] In 2013, the firm had an annual revenue of $436 million.[3][9] As of 2021 it had 179 partners and 1,600 personnel in six offices.[6]


Legal services[edit]

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 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.[10]

Notable legal work[edit]

The firm has undertaken several high-profile matters including Toll Group's takeover of Patrick Corporation,[11] Mayne Group's de-merger,[12] and Tattersall's A$2.17 billion IPO and listing.[13] 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.

Notable clients of the firm include Commonwealth Bank, Noble Group, Barrick Gold and Fortescue Metals.[14]

Pro bono work[edit]

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.[15] 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.[16]

Social responsibility[edit]

In March 2010, the firm launched an action plan to reconcile with Indigenous Australians.[17] The firm fully offsets its carbon emissions.[18]


McCabe v British American Tobacco[edit]

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.[19] In reaction to the decision, Victorian laws about document retention were strengthened by parliament.[20]

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.[20]

In the aftermath of the McCabe litigation Clayton Utz closed its tobacco claims practice.[21]

Sexual harassment allegations[edit]

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.[22] Clayton Utz was found not liable, as the court did not find that its partners ought reasonably to have prevented the correspondence.[23] The lawyer subject to the lawsuit resigned shortly after settlement of the suit.


Notable alumni of the firm include:


Awards and recognition include:

  • Australian Law Firm of the Year, Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards (2018)[41]
  • Attorney-General's Pro Bono Service Award, ACT Law Society Awards (2018)[41]
  • Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year, Who's Who Legal (2019, 2020)[41]
  • Most Innovative National Firm of the Year, International Financial Law Review (IFLR) Asia-Pacific Awards (2019, 2020)[41]
  • Winner - Marsh Excellence in Employee Health and Wellbeing Award, Australasian Law Awards (2020)[41]
  • Corporate Citizen Firm of the Year, Australasian Lawyer (2021)[41]
  • Australian Law Firm of the Year, The Lawyers Global (2022)[42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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.[citation needed]
  2. ^ Jurisdictions in which the firm regularly deals include the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Japan and India.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Clayton Utz. "About: Offices - Sydney, Australia". Archived from the original on 9 April 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Clayton Utz Expertise - Expertise - Clayton Utz". Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Clayton Utz suffers 4pc revenue decline amid job cuts". Australian Financial Review. 6 September 2013. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  4. ^ "How much do lawyers earn?". Australian Financial Review. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Lex Mundi: The Worlds Leading Law Firm Network". Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  6. ^ a b c AUSTRADE The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (2021). "Australian Suppliers Directory". Australian Government. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  7. ^ Kenneth Nguyen (22 May 2007). "Stags in Slater & Gordon share some class action – a 40% win". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 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.
  8. ^ "Corporate/M&A | Chambers Global Profile". Clayton Utz. Retrieved 28 January 2023.
  9. ^ "Independent law firms: The case for staying local". Business Review Weekly. 15 August 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Chambers and Partners directory". Chamber and Partners. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  11. ^ Kirsty Simpson; Rod Myer; Malcolm Maiden (13 May 2006). "Crash of the Titans". The Age.
  12. ^ "ASX announcement and media release". Australian Securities Exchange. 17 June 2005.
  13. ^ "Float creates new millionaire factory". The Australian. 3 June 2005.
  14. ^ "Pro Bono Lawyers". Clayton Utz. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  15. ^ "Australian Pro Bono Centre | Government Tender Arrangements". Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  16. ^ "Reconciliation". Clayton Utz. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  17. ^ "Clayton Utz and the environment". Clayton Utz. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  18. ^ "Clayton Utz has welcomed the Victorian Court of Appeal's decision to uphold the Appeal against the ruling of the Victorian Supreme Court in the matter of McCabe v BATAS" (Press release). Clayton Utz. 6 December 2002. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
  19. ^ a b Ackland, Richard (15 December 2006). "The importance of being earnest". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  20. ^ Clayton Utz to close tobacco claims litigation practice, Clayton Utz, 18 July 2002, retrieved 23 March 2010
  21. ^ Carson, Vanda (30 November 2011). "Clayton Utz lawyer Luis Izzo exposed as a rude e-male". 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.
  22. ^ "Styles v Clayton Utz (No. 3) [2011] NSWSC 1452, 143". Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h Evans, Linda; Fagan, David, eds. (2008), Clayton Utz: Celebrating 175 Years, Clayton Utz
  24. ^ Errington, Wayne; Van Onselen, Peter (2007), John Winston Howard: The Biography, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, ISBN 978-0-522-85334-6
  25. ^ "Hon Julie Bishop MP". Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  26. ^ "Christian Porter: Lawyer's lawyer, but attorney-general of the people". Australian Financial Review. 1 February 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  27. ^ "The Hon Brigitte Sandra Markovic". Federal Court of Australia. 24 August 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  28. ^ Clayton Utz partner appointed to the Federal Court of Australia, Clayton Utz, 12 August 2015, retrieved 15 April 2016
  29. ^ "Archbishop-elect Anthony Fisher pledges a humbler Catholic Church: 'No excuses, no cover-ups'". Sydney Morning Herald. 20 September 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  30. ^ Walker, Kristen (2001). "Mason, Anthony Frank". In Coper, Michael; Blackshield, Tony; Williams, George (eds.). The Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. pp. 459–461. ISBN 9780195540222 – via High Court of Australia. [Former Chief Justices of the Court of Australia page]
  31. ^ "Biography of Justice Wigney", Federal Court of Australia, February 2022, retrieved 14 September 2022
  32. ^ "Law School Alumna Michelle Gordon appointed to High Court of Australia : Archive Page : The University of Western Australia". Retrieved 14 September 2022.
  33. ^ "StackPath". Retrieved 14 September 2022.
  34. ^ "International Comparative Legal Guides". International Comparative Legal Guides International Business Reports. Retrieved 14 September 2022.
  35. ^ "Staff Profile". The University of Sydney. Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  36. ^ "Current Judges and Masters".
  37. ^ Australia, c\=AU\; co\=Commonwealth of Australia\; ou\=Federal Court of (6 September 2023). "Biography of Justice Shariff". Retrieved 4 December 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  38. ^ Australia, c\=AU\; co\=Commonwealth of Australia\; ou\=Federal Court of (9 November 2021). "Biography of Justice Goodman". Retrieved 4 December 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  39. ^ Australia, c\=AU\; co\=Commonwealth of Australia\; ou\=Federal Court of (11 November 2022). "Biography of Justice Snaden". Retrieved 4 December 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  40. ^ a b c d e f "Legal Services | Awards | Australia | Clayton Utz - About - Clayton Utz". Retrieved 10 December 2022.
  41. ^ "The best Law Firms and Lawyers Awarded in Australia in 2022". The Lawyers Global. Retrieved 10 December 2022.

External links[edit]