Maurice Blackburn appoints Steve Bracks as Chair and announces more than 50% female Board representation

29 June 2018
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers has appointed former Victorian Premier the Honourable Steve Bracks AC as the new Chair of its Board. At the same time, the firm’s Board will be comprised of more than 50 per cent female representation for the first time.

Mr Bracks joined the Maurice Blackburn Board as a non-executive director in February this year and will take over as Chair from July 1.

Maurice Blackburn Chief Executive Officer Jacob Varghese said he was pleased to welcome Steve Bracks as the new Chair of the firm’s Board, and paid tribute to outgoing Chair Steve Walsh, who is retiring on 30 June after seven years as Chair, and more than three decades with the firm.

“Since joining the Board in February 2018, Steve Bracks has already brought substantial expertise and a strong commitment to social justice to Maurice Blackburn’s work,” Mr Varghese said.

“As our firm continues to grow we look forward to seeing how we can further benefit from his extensive leadership and policy experience as Chair.

“I also want to thank Steve Walsh, who has left a lasting impression on all of us here at Maurice Blackburn. We thank him for his enormous contribution, and wish him all the very best for the future.”

Mr Bracks said he was looking forward to expanding his role with Australia’s leading social justice law firm in the role of Chair.

“I have always had a strong commitment to social justice and to ensuring that people have access to justice,” Mr Bracks said.

“Maurice Blackburn has a long and proud history of standing up for others and taking on important cases that help to drive broader change and reform.

“I am looking forward to contributing to that legacy through my new role as Chair, and to continuing to play an active role in advocating for the rights of working Australians,” he said.

In what is believed may be an Australian first for a national law firm, Maurice Blackburn’s Board will now also be made up of more than 50 per cent female representation.

Brisbane-based Principal lawyer Michelle James, who heads the firm’s Abuse litigation practice, has been elected to the Board effective from July 1, joining Principals Liberty Sanger and Rebecca Gilsenan, as well as non-executive director Joan Fitzpatrick.

“Maurice Blackburn remains deeply committed to promoting gender equality and we have always held to progressive values that we try to reflect in all aspects of the work we do, including at the leadership level,” Mr Varghese said.

“Thanks to the fight of many female leaders in this place over 99 years, gender equality is a core principle of Maurice Blackburn. This milestone represents a huge victory for a generation of women lawyers.”

Other Board members for the firm are Principals Josh Bornstein and Andrew Watson.