MINTER Ellison has joined the sponsor family of the Commonwealth Games, after being named the event's official lawyers at a launch function on the Gold Coast this morning.
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) chairman Nigel Chamier and Minter Ellison chief executive Tony Harrington announced the three-year partnership agreement between the organisations.
It has been described as a world-first fully outsourced model for any major sporting event, and one that Harrington says will drive the group's disruption strategy for the legal sector.
Under the agreement, Minter Ellison will embed up to eight lawyers within the GOLDOC organisation to handle all of the legal requirements for the games. There are currently four Minter Ellison staff working from GOLDOC's Ashmore headquarters, with another four expected to join by mid next year.
"The real benefit is around insourcing, about having an end-to-end legal solution embedded in the team," says Harrington.
"We are endeavouring to disrupt how lawyers interact with their clients and in that context this is a great national example for us."
Minter Ellison is no stranger to major sporting events after sponsoring the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Harrington says that arrangement took a more traditional approach.
However, he says the benefits of embedding the team within GOLDOC include a strong learning curve for staff as well as global exposure.
"We have a couple of examples now where this is working extremely well," Harrington says. "This whole sense of getting a professional team and embedding them, and the interaction with clients (this offers) is a very beneficial approach."
Minter Ellison's Gold Coast managing partner Ken Petty says it is the biggest project his office has taken on in its 30-year history.
Special counsel Paula Robinson (pictured) will be leading a team of eight lawyers based at GOLDOC full time to service more than 40 functional areas within the organisation.
Robinson says the Commonwealth Games assignment promises to offer a diverse range of work for all legal staff involved.
"When these games are finished, Minter Ellison will be able to boast an end-to-end legal service, and for an event of this calibre that is a huge achievement for both the people involved and the firm as a whole.
"GOLDOC is at around 200 staff currently and will grow to around 1400-1500 by the time the Games roll around, with all of those people needing legal services to help deliver what it is they have been engaged for," says Robinson.
"It will be a challenge to make sure the left arm knows what the right arm is doing so to speak, and the legal service will play a significant part in that."
The team will advise on everything from sponsorship, brand protection and broadcasting to ceremonies, ticketing, venue use and major procurements.
"To be able to stand next to our colleagues at GOLDOC and say 'we did it' will be a real sense of achievement," says Robinson.
"It's very rare in a person's career that they get to be a major part of something the same calibre as the Commonwealth Games."
GOLDOC chairman Nigel Chamier has described it as a 'very important partnership' for GOLDOC.
"It gives us great confidence as we move towards 2018 to know that we have a leading global legal firm providing the organisation with advice right up until the games and then through to dissolution," he says.
Minter Ellison is the only Australian top-tier law firm with an office based on the Gold Coast.
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