New-look Barry Nilsson renews its strategic focus on family and insurance law to 2025

03 February 2023

In its diamond jubilee year, award-winning national law firm Barry Nilsson (BN) has unveiled a new look while also confirming its 2023-25 strategic focus would remain firmly on deepening its expertise in the high-demand areas of family and insurance law.

By doing so, the 60-year-old firm is defying the current “generalist” professional services trend of expanding into new business lines.

BN Board Chairman and National Insurance & Health Lead Principal Rhett Kennedy said growing the firm’s capacity and capabilities in family and insurance law over the next three years was a deliberate strategic decision by BN’s Board of Management, informed by extensive research and feedback from clients and staff.

“These insights confirmed BN’s immediate opportunities for growth lie in expanding our recognised expertise within the areas of law in which BN is already a trusted advisor,” he said.

Mr Kennedy said BN’s refreshed brand better reflected the firm’s evolution into a respected national law firm that clients routinely describe as “approachable, professional and easy to deal with”.

“Launching alongside BN’s refreshed brand, our 2025 strategy consolidates the direction BN embarked upon 10 years ago while also mapping a clear path for strong and sustained growth underpinned by a client-first approach embraced by staff at all levels,” he said.

“Over the past decade the firm has substantially expanded its geographic footprint from one to six states to deliver a truly national service offering,” he said.

“At the same time, we have focused our practice areas on family and insurance law which enables us to partner closely with our clients and the important stakeholders within these legal sectors.”

Despite the past three years of economic upheaval and uncertainty, demand for BN’s legal expertise – including its experience in complex family law matters and insurance class actions and precedent-setting test cases – has boosted the firm’s total case load by 7.5 per cent.

BN’s staff numbers have also grown by 14 per cent over the past two years to 360. This included a 12 per cent increase in its team of lawyers which now number 200.

“Despite the current economic challenges of high inflation and rising interest rates, we are confident this is the right time for BN to further develop our now well-established national network of state-based practices through a mix of client-driven organic growth and targeted expansion, including into greenfield areas of insurance law in which we don’t now operate. We are currently assessing these opportunities,’’ Mr Kennedy said.

BN Chief Executive Officer Graeme Walsh said the firm’s new 2025 strategy and brand followed its first appointments for 2023 which saw 18 existing staff elevated to more senior positions in recognition of their high-level skills and commitment to delivering exceptional service to clients and the firm.

“As a firm, we remain committed to nurturing talent and providing our people with career development opportunities that enable them to grow within their roles in order to deliver excellent outcomes for our clients,” Mr Walsh said.

Mr Walsh said BN’s 2025 strategy also recognised the growing expectation among clients and employees for companies to clearly articulate their contribution towards the achievement of broader sustainability and social equity goals.

"For the first time this strategy makes explicit, in our firm-wide values and objectives, BN's commitment to reducing our impact on the environment and our professional responsibility to creating a more inclusive, caring and just society through our pro bono practice and Impact Project,” he said.

“Principals and staff have whole heartedly embraced our Impact Project and stepped up their pro bono work. In 2021-22, BN’s Impact Project contributed $1.5 million in pro bono work, generated over $100,000 worth of donations and support for community groups and halved paper usage and greenhouse gas emissions per employee.”

Named an Employer of Choice by Australasian Lawyer in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, BN prides itself on being an inclusive Australian law firm.

BN has a range of professional development programs and employee benefits in place – including structured mentoring, flexible working arrangements, health and wellbeing days and a 9.5-day fortnight – across its national network of offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth.

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