The Aussie Corporate

Minter Ellison

Work hard, play hard is the name of the game

AusCorp Remarks

After taking the crown of the “largest” law firm in Australia from fellow Australian compatriot HWLE, “Minters” has been going through a bit of a rough patch. The firm is predominantly an Australian law firm but has a sizeable practice in New Zealand as well as satellite offices in Hong Kong, London and strangely, Mongolia.

Minters has had a bit of the shine taken off its since the messy departure of its ex-CEO, Annette Kimmitt, after she circulated an email criticising her own firm for taking Christian Porter on as a client. It was all a bit of a PR shi*tshow but Virginia Briggs, an actual lawyer, has now taken the reins and it seems the ship has steadied for now.

Being ranked 6th out of the Big 6 law firms in Australia, Minters certainly has its lion’s share of challenging and complex mid-market work, if not too much of it. As with most law firms, we have heard that staffing can be an issue here due to the constant churn of lawyers coming in and out of the building. Most recently, MinterEllison’s prized private equity team and a few finance partners were poached by Corrs and this has left a gaping hole in resources and capabilities in these areas. Is this perhaps due to the fact that Minter Ellison partners earn less than its competitors? In 2021, the AFR reported that Minters’ partners took home on average around $200,000 less than partners at HWLE. Something that would surely have weighed on their minds.

Speaking of pay, Minters was also one of the first firms last year to announce pay cuts to its staff but we understand staff have since been all made whole after a bumper year in the legal market. Despite all this, if you can put aside all the recent poor publicity, Minters’ is still, at the end of the day, a leading law firm in Australia. With its access to the market, its clients and strong training programs, these all do make it a great place to hone your trade.

It’s supposed to be one of the more ‘relaxed’ top-tiers and we have heard that the people are generally pleasant and easy-going. The collegiate nature of the firm shines through as a result of its strong social programs (at least before COVID).

Minters also focuses on its tech offering, and places a heavy emphasis on this in its marketing for graduates and lawyers alike. Unlike other firms, they have put their money where their mouth, having acquired and grown a separate technology consulting arm, ITNewcom. We’ve heard grads are able to do a stint here but probably more to catch a breather from the frenetic pace of biglaw more than anything else.

Final appraisal

Quality of work
Perks (including salary and bonus)
Prestige / Reputation
Training and support
Working hours

From the horse's mouth

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