Founding partner David Grace to retire30 May 2014 Topics:
One of Cooper Grace Ward’s founding partners, David Grace, will step down from the partnership at the end of June, concluding more than 33 years as a partner of the firm and nearing 50 years in the profession.
He announced the news to the firm late last year and has since been preparing to ‘enter a new phase’ that will see him focus on business development and training at Cooper Grace Ward, as well as his positions on various external boards and committees.
‘One thing Peter Cooper, Chris Ward and I found when we began the firm in 1980 was that we lacked experience in many areas,’ he said. ‘Hence it is a priority for the partners to capture the benefit that my years of experience can offer to those up and coming in the firm.’
‘My new role will focus on continuing to nurture existing clients with whom I have a personal relationship, as well as passing on to our team members the experience I have gained in handling situations that you will never find in a text book.’
David began his career at Walsh FitzGerald and Hilton (now Walsh Halligan Douglas) in 1972, where he met Peter Cooper and Chris Ward, with whom he would eventually form Cooper Grace & Ward in 1980.
The trio shared many views about practice management, in particular that information technology was about to revolutionise the profession and that law firms ought to be operated more like businesses.
How best to run a business is a particular interest of David’s, who has focused on corporate and commercial law since the late 70s and has acted in many landmark negotiations with regulators such as ASIC and ACCC.
‘I have always liked the cut and thrust of companies – how they run and the challenges they present. It’s just always attracted me. I love the corporate business life and I suppose that, in due course, led me to board work, where you have to take on more of a commercial perspective than that of a lawyer.’
David has developed a significant presence in the agribusiness space over the last 25 years, acting for companies such as OBE Beef Limited, Golden Circle, Queensland Cotton and the Queensland Dairy Authority. In particular, he played a key role in the privatisation and corporatisation of several agribusiness sectors, including the cotton and horticultural industries.
David believes agribusiness will play a vital role in Australia’s future economic strength and is eager to continue to nurture the involvement of Cooper Grace Ward’s corporate and commercial practice in this space.
‘I have enjoyed the challenges and the achievements over these years and will continue to enjoy them in my new role as a consultant to the firm from July 2014.’ ‘I am taking this step with a great deal of pride in where we have collectively taken the firm, from three partners and a total of 15 people in 1980 to more than 20 partners and more than 200 team members today.’
David will also continue in board roles for Indue Ltd, BioGlobal Limited and Select Melons Australia Pty Ltd, as well as being an active committee member of the Company Law Committee of the Australian Law Council and the chairman of the Queensland Law Society’s Competition and Consumer Committee.