A commitment to independence
We wouldn’t blame you if you had thought the Gadens brand was long supposed to be gone. In 2016, after a highly strung year of negotiations, Dentons, one of the largest law firms (by numbers) in the world, managed to acquire Gadens. The catch was that this was only partners at Gadens Sydney and Gadens Perth who wanted a piece of this pie. And so this bad break-up means that Dentons now exists but Gadens itself is also still found in most Australian major cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. Being independent means it is not subject to the whims or thoughts of any international overlords and its leadership is essentially centralised in Australia.
Dating back to 1847, Gadens is known as one of those long-standing Australian firms that have still retained its independence in a competitive landscape full of international mergers. You won’t find Gadens on the ticket on any of Australia’s mega deals or transactions, but it has a great reputation as a solid, mid-market, reliable law firm.
Many of the partners at Gadens may have had careers at a top-tier firm and so the quality of the lawyers here are still of a high calibre. Whilst Gadens doesn’t carry the same prestige as their larger competitors, the work is varied and interesting, and for any graduate lawyer looking to ply their trade, would doubtless be a nice launchpad for their career. There are formal and informal training structures in place to help you achieve your career goals and the firm willing to invest in its staff.
We have heard that there is a good mix of clients at Gadens and for a national mid-tier, this is a big positive. The firm also facilitates plenty of secondment opportunities and there is “more international work that you would expect”. This emulates the same opportunities as what you might expect at a top-tier firm but naturally, at a lesser scale.
The culture at Gadens (like any other law firm) depends on the team. We have heard that the firm does try and invest and buy into new initiatives to foster a more collaborative environment (e.g. run club, social club etc). Despite this, the pay at Gadens is quite average for a firm of its reputation and expectations on its lawyers. The long hours that Gadens lawyers can be subject to here means that this fact can be a punishing reminder during those late nights at the desk. This is exacerbated by the fact that Gadens is not able to evade the long hours that you might expect in a larger firm, and when things are are busy, some lawyers have indicated that they have had to work weekends.
Overall, one of the drawcards of Gadens is that it is still an independent Australian firm with a varied client list. Given its long standing history in corporate Australia, it is a reputable name for any resume. With mixed and interesting work, whilst Gadens wouldn’t be the first choice for a highly ambitious law graduate looking for prestige and mega-deals, it is nevertheless a solid option amongst the other choices out there.