Madgwicks is a Melbourne-based law firm that traces its roots back to 1975, when it was founded by Peter Kennedy and Graeme Levy.
Originally an offshoot of the Sydney-based firm Madgwick and Madgwick, it specialises in commercial law, commercial litigation, and insolvency.
Under the then leadership of Managing Partner Warren Walter Madgwick and a team of prominent insolvency practitioners, Peter and Graeme honed their legal skills and gained valuable experience.
Concerns about the performance of the Melbourne office prompted the Sydney office to consider closing it down. However, Kennedy and Levy, still in their twenties and eager to establish themselves in the legal profession, saw an opportunity and seized it by purchasing the Melbourne business.
From those humble beginnings, Madgwicks Lawyers emerged and has since grown into a reputable law firm that provides exceptional legal services to its clients. Its formal operations in Melbourne began on 1 July 1975.
Graeme became a co-founder of Madgwicks Lawyers in July 1975 alongside Peter Kennedy. He specialised in commercial litigation and corporate law as well as insolvency and reconstruction spanning four decades of dedicated legal practice. Graeme gained extensive knowledge across various industry sectors, with a particular emphasis on the manufacturing, distribution, and services industries in both the private and public domains.
Appreciated by his clients for his exceptional ability to provide a comprehensive commercial outlook, Graeme identified the risks and significant issues from the onset. With his vast expertise in insolvency and commercial law, he was able to evaluate various business types and provide the most suitable business structure recommendation for each situation. This, combined with extensive experience in both front and back-end legal matters, allowed him to offer sound advisory services, earning him the reputation of a trusted consultant to his network of clients and colleagues.
Peter completed his articled clerkship in 1972 under the careful supervision of the Managing Partner at Ellison Hewison Whitehead. Following a short stint at Horneman Macaw & Oldfield, he commenced working as a junior lawyer at the Melbourne office of Sydney firm Madgwick and Madgwick in July 1973. In July 1975, he became one of the founding partners of Madgwicks Lawyers in Melbourne, alongside Graeme Levy.
Over the course of the last 48 years, Peter has built himself a prominent practice, specialising in insolvency, corporate reconstruction, commercial advice and commercial litigation. He is a trusted advisor for both businesses and individuals, applying his extensive experience to help clients navigate often significant legal and financial challenges. Additionally, Peter sits on several boards of both listed and unlisted companies in diverse industries such as manufacturing, mining, funds management, and investment.
In 1972, Graeme Levy joins Melbourne branch of Sydney firm, Madgwick and Madgwick. On 16 July 1973, Peter Kennedy joins Graeme Levy. On 1 July 1975, Graeme Levy and Peter Kennedy (the “Odd Couple”) jointly purchase the business and chattels in Melbourne for a princely sum of $2300 and proceed to lay the foundations for Madgwicks Lawyers by slowly building the insolvency and litigation practice. The office is situated at 491 Bourke Street in Melbourne (which is now part of the RACV).
Following some success in the early years, the new decade heralds a move to new offices at Level 7, 440 Collins Street, Melbourne. Madgwicks secures some big clients including agricultural equipment company, International Harvester. Peter and Graeme hire their first lawyer and an Office Manager.
The recessionary climate in Australia in the early 1990s represents the boom years for Madgwicks with significant insolvency and litigation cases including the Pyramid Building Society insolvency and litigation. In 1992, the firm moves to Level 19, 535 Bourke Street, Melbourne and in 1995, the firm celebrates 20 years of operation. Madgwicks now has 18 lawyers.
As the new century begins, the Pyramid insolvency and litigation work ceases and it becomes abundantly clear that insolvency work is very cyclical. However, in another area of the firm, the Madgwicks’ Property team enjoys significant growth that prompts a move in 2006 to Level 33, 140 William Street, Melbourne. In 2008, the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) hits with huge impacts to some key clients.
2010s to present
With the 2000s in full swing, the now well-established Insolvency and Litigation practice and the large Property practice are complemented with the firm’s large Corporate and Commercial arm and its Workplace Relations practice to be able to offer the full suite of business advisory services to its clients. In 2015, Madgwicks’ clients and staff celebrated 40 years of operation at the Australian Club with keynote speaker, Jeff Kennett, Chairman of Beyond Blue and Former Premier of Victoria, marking the occasion. Madgwicks moved once more down to level 6 of the 140 William Street address to accommodate the larger team of 45 fee earners and 100 staff in total.