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Sparke Helmore Lawyers is pleased to announce it will merge with Newcastle firm Laycock Burke Castaldi (LBC), welcoming three new Partners to the partnership.

Sparke Helmore’s National Managing Partner Phillip Salem said, “Newcastle is and always will be the traditional home of Sparke Helmore – and it is deep in the roots of LBC, too. To have the opportunity to join with a firm of the reputation and calibre of LBC is yet another critical step in enhancing the legal expertise we provide to our clients in the Hunter region and nationally.”

The partners – Julien Castaldi, Seamus Burke and Andrew Knight — are highly experienced lawyers, all having worked with a broad mix of clients throughout their respective careers. The three come to us with formidable reputations in the Newcastle market.

  •  Julien is well-known for specialising in all aspects of commercial dispute resolution, insolvency and commercial law. His experience encompasses matters relating to company law, competition and consumer law, contract, intellectual property, professional negligence, insurance law, land law, insolvency and defamation. As well as providing advice and representation in the traditional role of solicitor, Julien has substantial experience acting in the role of advocate in contested proceedings and representing clients in mediation and arbitration.
  • Seamus has a wealth of expertise in employment law, industrial relations and work health and safety. He acts for employers in a wide range of industries, in all aspects of employment law, industrial relations and discrimination laws. As well as behind the scenes advice, Seamus also gets involved in litigation in the employment and discrimination tribunals (including the Fair Work Commission, ADB and AHRC), the Federal Court, the Federal Circuit Court and the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
  • Andrew is highly regarded for his expertise in facets of commercial law, property law and estate planning, with specific expertise and interest in trusts, and complex wills, including drafting provisions featuring testamentary trusts and protective trusts for disabled beneficiaries.  He has unparalleled experience in property law including entering into and enforcement of securities, real estate subdivisions and general conveyancing.  Andrew is also Deputy Chairman of Lifestyle Solutions (Aust) Ltd and a clinical lecturer at the University of Newcastle law school.

These three partners will be joined by a team of five lawyers and four support staff. This brings the total of partners in Sparke Helmore’s Newcastle office to nine with a total headcount of just under 100, making it one of the largest law firms in the Hunter region.

“Sparke Helmore and LBC are both proudly Australian firms. We immediately saw the synergies with our strategies, our culture and values as well as our commitment to exceptional client service. The two firms joining forces demonstrates Sparke Helmore’s recognition of the importance of the Hunter region to its business”, said Julien Castaldi. 

Julien continued, “Our clients are excited by the opportunities this merger presents, as evidenced by the three testimonials below.”

From James Shaw, Director, Shaw Gidley – “Shaw Gidley has worked with and referred clients to the directors and lawyers at LBC since the firm started in 2014.  The merger with Sparke Helmore represents a great opportunity to combine a modern and vital legal practice with one of Newcastle’s oldest and most respected law firms.  We are confident that the result will be a success, with both firms renowned for personal and high-quality service.”

From Andrew Hyland, CEO, LIfestyle Solutions (Australia) Limited – “Lifestyle Solutions has worked with Laycock Burke Castaldi Lawyers over the past 4 years.  Over that time, the firm has been a trusted advisor to Lifestyle Solutions and has provided timely, logical, affordable and accessible legal advice.  I am confident the merger with Sparke Helmore will only serve to strengthen the work that the combined firms will provide to clients, including Lifestyle Solutions.”

From Eliza Anning, Director Corporate Services, LINX Cargo Care Group - “Having worked with the partners of LBC for nearly 10 years, we are very excited for them to be joining the Sparke Helmore team.  The team of lawyers at LBC consistently provide us with pragmatic, solutions- based advice to help us get to the nub of issues quickly and manage commercial, employee and legal risk.  The team at LBC understands our approach to doing business and provides us with advice that not only meets our approach, but also challenges our thinking to achieve a better outcome.  The merger with Sparke Helmore represents an opportunity for this tailored approach to be delivered across a broader range of legal services and we look forward to continuing to work with a strong team, offering more diversified legal services following the merger.”

The merger takes effect from 1 July 2020.

About Sparke Helmore

We’ve come a long way since our doors first opened in the Hunter in 1882. We’ve had an office in Sydney since the ‘60s and we recently opened our ninth office in Darwin.

We cover five key areas of law – Corporate & Commercial, Commercial Insurance, Government, Statutory Lines of Insurance and Workplace – with more than 30 specialised areas of expertise. We’re a truly national, full service and proudly Australian firm that delivers results through deep collaboration with our clients. Wherever our clients need us, that’s where we’ll be.

Covering a big country needs a big team—we’re more than 850 people now and still growing. And in true Australian spirit, we’re friendly, approachable and easy to work with. And when you work with one of us, you get the expertise of all of us.

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