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Our history

Our history

Cooper Grace Ward has achieved significant status in the legal marketplace within its relatively short history. Our founding partners continue to play a crucial role in shaping our identity today, both as a company and culturally. 

Cooper Grace Ward history

Humble beginnings

On 22 December 1980, Peter Cooper, David Grace and Chris Ward began practising as Cooper Grace & Ward Solicitors, covering the key practice areas of property (Peter Cooper), corporate and commercial (David Grace) and litigation (Chris Ward). The firm’s first office was at 239 George Street, Brisbane.

From strength to strength 

Cooper Grace & Ward saw enormous growth over the period from 1981 to 1990. At the end of this period, the firm moved to larger premises, taking the top two floors of Central Plaza Two at 66 Eagle Street in 1990.

In 1993, Cooper Grace & Ward decided to become affiliated, but not financially integrated, with the national Hunt & Hunt legal group. In 1996, the firm merged with another commercial law firm, Thompson King Connolly.


A new chapter

In 2005, Chris Ward took over as managing partner, after the retirement of the firm’s inaugural managing partner, Peter Cooper. Chris instigated a comprehensive strategic review, which led to the partners unanimously deciding that a national affiliation was not necessary to continue providing outstanding service to the firm’s local, national and international clients. Accordingly, in March 2006, and with the support of many longstanding clients, the firm decided to leave the Hunt & Hunt group and move forward as Cooper Grace Ward.

CGW our history offices
Central Plaza Two, 66 Eagle Street, Brisbane (1990).

Growing success

By 2009, Cooper Grace Ward had again outgrown its premises and, in October of that year, the firm moved into three floors in the Five Star Green Star designed building at 400 George Street.

Within three weeks of the relocation to 400 George Street, Cooper Grace Ward announced a substantial merger with Bain Gasteen Lawyers, effective from 1 December 2009. The merger took the firm’s total numbers to over 200 people, providing additional depth, support and services for clients, particularly in the areas of property and insurance.

In recent times, Cooper Grace Ward’s success has been exemplified by the long list of awards and recognition the firm continues to receive for client service, legal expertise, team initiatives and engagement, and equity and diversity. These include ongoing recognition in the Beaton Client Choice Awards, Chambers, The Legal 500, Best Lawyers Australia, Doyle’s Guide, and the HRD Employer of Choice awards. Find out more about our recent awards.