How profitable can sticking up for battlers be? Plenty — just ask Slater & Gordon lawyers Peter Gordon, Andrew Grech and Paul Henderson, whose shares in the Melbourne-based firm are now worth more than $40 million.
Slater & Gordon yesterday became the first law firm in Australia to float on a stock exchange. Shares, issued at $1, closed at $1.40.
Mr Gordon, a former president of the Western Bulldogs, Mr Grech and Mr Henderson also pocketed $4.6 million each by selling shares issued to them in return for funding that they provided to the firm.
Asked at yesterday’s launch if it was a concern to be seen to be profiting from the law, Mr Grech, the firm’s managing director, replied: “Everyone profits from the law. I don’t think that’s going to be earth-shattering news, to be frank.”
Slater & Gordon has built its “battlers’ friend” reputation, and its senior lawyers’ fortunes, predominantly on personal injury litigation against corporations and industrial litigation on behalf of unions.
Prominent claims have included actions against BHP in relation to its Ok Tedi mine, CSR in relation to asbestos and Victoria Police in relation to S11 protesters. Labor deputy leader Julia Gillard is an alumnus of the firm.