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Minter Ellison 2015 logo.png
Headquarters Sydney, Australia
No. of offices 15
No. of attorneys 202 partners, 981 lawyers
Key people

Bruce Cowley, Chairman

Tony Harrington, Chief Executive
Revenue A$456 million (2015/2016) (+6.4%)
Date founded 1827
Company type Partnership

MinterEllison is a multinational professional services firm based in Australia. The firm has offices in five countries and 15 cities, including in every Australian capital city, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Ulaanbaatar.[1] By number of Australian lawyers it is the largest provider of legal services in Australia.[2] In the 2016 Acritas brand index, the Firm was named in the top 10 law firm brands in the Asia Pacific region, being regarded for "top-level litigation" and for "high-value work".[3]

Formerly known as Minter Ellison Lawyers, MinterEllison was a member of the Big Six leading Australian law firms before that term was superseded by a series of international law firm mergers.[4]


MinterEllison's origins can be traced back to 1827, when Frederick Wright Unwin was admitted to practice in New South Wales.[citation needed] Its first international office was opened in London in 1974, and its roots in China date back to the 1980s, when it was part of the Beijing Interjura consultancy (1987-1993) and though a co-operation agreement with Great Wall Law Firm (the law firm of China's Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations and Trade) signed in 1990.[citation needed]

In 1986, Ellison Hewison & Whitehead merged with Gillotts and with Minter Simpson & Co to become "Minter Ellison".[5]

In 1992, Minter Ellison and Morris Fletcher & Cross merged to become Minter Ellison Morris Fletcher and in 1995, the firm officially becomes known as Minter Ellison.[citation needed] In 2000, the Canberra office merged with Deacon Graham & James.[citation needed]

The firm established offices in Hong Kong in 2000, Shanghai in 2001, Beijing in 2010, and Ulaanbaatar in 2012.[citation needed]

On 1 September 2001 the New Zealand (Auckland and Wellington) law firm of Rudd Watts & Stone changed its name to Minter Ellison Rudd Watts.[citation needed] That firm is a member of the MinterEllison Legal Group and, as an 'associated' firm, does not form part of the integrated MinterEllison partnership.[citation needed]

In March 2015, MinterEllison dropped "lawyers" from its name, announcing that they changes were part of a strategy of both emphasising diversification into non-legal services such as project management, consulting and other professional services. Chief Executive Tony Harrington told the Australian Financial Review that the change in branding and strategy is the firm adapting to "phenomenal change in the market: change that encompasses technology-driven standardised products, increased in-house capacity at clients, and ever-consolidating larger businesses."[6]

MinterEllison is aiming for substantial growth, planning to increase revenue from roughly A$400 million to around A$600 million by 2020.[6]

In April 2016, MinterEllison launched a contract lawyer business, Flex, to provide clients with an alternative cost model for legal services.[7] In October 2016, MinterEllison announced an expansion into non-legal consulting.[8]


Practice areas[edit]

MinterEllison's key areas of practice are:[9]

Pro bono[edit]

More than 75 per cent of MinterEllison’s lawyers engaged in pro bono work in the 2014/2015 financial year, with a total of 30,000 hours completed.[10]

MinterEllison provides pro bono legal assistance through bodies including Justice Connect, QPILCH, Public Interest Advocacy Centre, ACT Pro Bono Clearing House and the Law Society of Western Australia.[11] It also participates in the New South Wales Expert Advice Exchange,[12] and a number of social enterprises including the Mwembe Foundation, the FOCUS women's leadership program and the Third Link Growth Fund.[13]

Flexible working arrangements[edit]

MinterEllison provides a range of flexible working arrangements, seeking to address the legal industry's reputation for long hours and lack of flexibility. These include options for staff to take up to four additional weeks of annual leave per year, parental leave, and part-time and working from home arrangements. A particular focus is on encouraging lawyers at senior levels to take leave and breaks from their career for family and other responsibilities.[14][15][16] MinterEllison's Flex contract lawyer business also provides an alternative to full-time employment at the firm.[17]

New office spaces[edit]

In 2015, MinterEllison moved into new premises at the Governor Macquarie Tower in Sydney. The new offices are designed to be an open and collaborative environment, with a variety of purpose designed spaces. Innovations include electronic "sit to stand" settings on desks and a community workspace including several collaboration zones. The new office received the 2016 John Verge Award for Interior Architecture. Chief Executive Tony Harrington commented "Professional services firms, I think, sometimes get ahead of themselves by hierarchy. What this fitout has done is broken down a lot of that hierarchy." [18]

Similar redesigns are planned for Perth, Brisbane and Canberra and Melbourne.[19][20]


In the 2016 Chambers Asia-Pacific rankings, MinterEllison has the second highest number of ranked practice areas of any law firm in the Asia-Pacific.[21]

A 2016 survey by Lawyers Weekly of Australian lawyers found that, when asked which law firm lawyers would approach if they were to leave their current employer, MinterEllison was ranked third in Australia.[22]

For the 2014/2015 financial year, MinterEllison acted on a large number of M&A transactions with a total deal value of A$30 billion as well as A$34 billion worth of infrastructure projects during the year. It also advised 70 per cent of the ASX 50 companies, a group that represents the large-cap component of the Australian stock market.[23] In 2015, MinterEllison was in the top five law firms in Australia in deal value for M&A advisory activity.[24]

Recent awards won by MinterEllison include:

  • 'Winner: Innovative Project of the Year' at the 2016 International Legal Technology Association Awards.[25]
  • 'Winner: Innovation in Use of Technology' at the 2015 Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards Asia 2015.[26]
  • 'Insurance Law Firm of the Year' for the fifth consecutive year at the 2016 Australian Banking and Finance Insurance Awards.[27][28]
  • 'Legal Advisor of the Year' in Energy, Projects & Infrastructure at the 2013 China Business Law Awards.[29]
  • 'Excellence in Client Service' at the 2014 Chambers Asia Pacific Awards for Excellence.[30]

Significant matters[edit]

The firm has worked on the long-term leasing of the ports of Brisbane, Darwin, Newcastle, Botany and Kembla, and, most recently in 2016 the Port of Melbourne which was leased for 50 years for $9.7 billion;[31] the A$1.14 billion joint takeover of Aquila Resources Limited[32] by Boasteel Resources Australia Pty Ltd and Aurizon Operations Limited; and the sale by Lloyds Banking Group plc[33] of its Australian asset finance business, Capital Finance Australia Ltd (CFAL), and its corporate loan portfolio, BOS International Australia Ltd (BOSI), to Westpac Banking Corporation for approximately A$1.55 billion in total.


  1. ^ Retrieved 6 July 2015
  2. ^ "Australian independent Minter Ellison returns to growth with 2 per cent turnover rise | The Lawyer". Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  3. ^ "Australia home to Asia Pacific's dominant law brands | LawyersWeekly". Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  4. ^ ALB. (2010.) ALB30 Australasia's largest firms.
  5. ^ "Philip Simpson: Land was the calling of a highflying lawyer". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 21 April 2008. 
  6. ^ a b "Minter Ellison multiplies beyond lawyers | Financial Review". Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "MinterEllison 'Flex's' muscle with new contract lawyer entity | Financial Review". Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  8. ^ "Minter Ellison moves to take on big four in consulting | Financial Review". Retrieved 24 October 2016. 
  9. ^ New South Wales Young Lawyers and the National Pro Bono Resource Centre. (2008.) Pro Bono Practices: A guide to the pro bono practices of NSW’s largest law firms, New South Wales Young Lawyers and the National Pro Bono Resource Centre.
  10. ^ "Minter Ellison revenue up despite 'patchy market conditions' | Lawyers Weekly". Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  11. ^ "Annual Report FY2014 | Minter Ellison" (PDF). Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  12. ^ "Law firms sign onto pro bono one-stop-shop | Australasian Lawyer". Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  13. ^ "Annual Report FY2014 | Minter Ellison". Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "Flexibility works out both ways | The Australian". Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  15. ^ "Anthony Lloyd raises bar as stay-at-home dad | The Australian". Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  16. ^ "MinterEllison M&A leader says she's no Marissa Mayer| Financial Review". Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  17. ^ "MinterEllison 'Flex's' muscle with new contract lawyer entity | Financial Review". Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  18. ^ "Sydney legal office gets major architecture nod | AustralasianLawyer". Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  19. ^ "Hearsay: Minters trendy move | Financial Review". Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  20. ^ "Firm moves to newly minted offices | LawyersWeekly". Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  21. ^ "Top legal firms widen gap with the rest | The Australian". Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  22. ^ "Exclusive: top 25 attraction firms revealed | Lawyers Weekly". Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  23. ^ "Australian independent Minter Ellison returns to growth with 2 per cent turnover rise | The Lawyer". Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  24. ^ "International firms dominate M&A in Australasia | Lawyers Weekly". Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  25. ^ "Innovative Project of the Year ILTA 2016 | FT". ILTA. Retrieved 24 October 2016. 
  26. ^ "FT Innovative Lawyers Awards Asia 2015 | FT". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  27. ^ "Award-winning insurers on the year ahead | Australian Banking & Finance". AB+F. Retrieved 24 October 2016. 
  28. ^ "Minter Ellison is named 'Insurance Law Firm of the Year 2014' at AB F Insurance Awards | The Lawyer". Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  29. ^ "China Business Law recognises Minter Ellison for energy, projects and infrastructure work | The Lawyer". Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  30. ^ "Client Service Award Australia | Chambers & Partners". Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  31. ^ See 'Port of Newcastle winners tabled $1.75bn knockout bid', AFR, 1 May 2014; ' $3bn expected as Port Botany bids reviewed by lawyers', AFR, 9 April 2013
  32. ^ Announcement by Aquila Resources to The Australian Stock Exchange, 5 May 2014.
  33. ^ See 'Minters, Freehills, advise on Lloyds deal', Lawyers Weekly, 11 June 2012.

External links[edit]