Baker & McKenzie hires King & Wood Mallesons duo in Australia

Baker & McKenzie has boosted its tax and employment teams in Australia with the appointment of two senior lawyers from King & Wood Mallesons (KWM).

The duo Ellen Thomas and Sean Selleck were previously employed as senior associate and of counsel at KWM respectively, but both join Bakers in Australia as partners.

Thomas, who will be based in Sydney, specialises in general corporate, property and banking tax across a broad range of sectors, with a particular focus on mining and financial services.

She has previous advised clients such as the Australian bank Westpac on its issue of subordinated notes and developers on infrastructure projects such as the M7 Motorway in Sydney and the privatisation of the Sydney desalination plant.

Before joining Mallesons, where she worked for seven years, Thomas also did a three year stint at Minter Ellison. She joins a team of more than 800 tax lawyers globally at Bakers.

Meanwhile Selleck, who will be based in Melbourne, focuses on employment and industrial strategies.

As well as advising on matters such as contracts, policies, entitlements, disciplinary processes and redundancies, he has a particular interest in non-standard labour practices such as labour hire, outsourcing, casual employment and independent contractors.

He also handles a large number of contentious cases related to dismissals, discrimination claims and restraints of trade and confidentiality, and develops and implements workplace agreements.

Additionally he advises on industrial action.

Prior to Bakers, he worked for Mallesons for 13 years, before which he was a senior associate at Garland Hawthorn Brahe. He joins a worldwide employment group of 500 lawyers at the US firm.

The two appointments follow the recent promotions of four new partners at Bakers in Australia, including real estate lawyer Sebastian Busa, environment markets specialist Jennifer Hughes, corporate and M&A attorney Kate Jefferson and IT and communications specialist Anne Petterd – all of whom are based in Sydney.

In May, the firm also added DLA Piper’s Asia Pacific life sciences head Amanda Turnill in the country, tasking her with co-heading the Australian life sciences practice from Sydney alongside corporate partner Ben McLaughlin.

The firm currently has two offices in Australia located in Melbourne and Sydney, specialising in a mix of practice areas.

National managing Partner Chris Freeland said the recent appointments were particularly valuable in increasing Bakers’ female partner numbers by 3%.

In April the firm told Legal Week it was aiming to boost its female partnership portion from 15% to 30% with a shift away from billable hour targets.

“I am really pleased to see more of our female lawyers being promoted as leaders of the firm,” said Freeland.

“Whilst I acknowledge that we still have work to do in this area, these female promotions reflect well on our firm’s focus on this important issue which will continue to remain front and centre.”

Related: Baker & McKenzie boosts Sydney team with DLA hire

Bakers aims to double female representation among equity