Our Story

Established in 1885, Maddocks is one of Australia’s oldest independent law firms. Founded in the boom years of the late 19th century, when gold brought prosperity and architectural grandeur to Melbourne, Maddocks has grown into one of Australia’s largest firms.

Maddocks now has 85 partners, who work alongside more than 550 people to assist public and private sector clients across offices in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.


John Henry Maddock, 28, and Arthur James Johnson, 21 and newly admitted to the Victorian Bar, join up on 1 August 1885 to set up the firm that is to become Maddocks. The two set up at 70 Queen St, Melbourne. Early clients included financial institutions and property developers at the height of Melbourne’s land boom.


Charles Jamieson joins the firm, which changes its name to Maddock, Johnson & Jamieson. Mr Jamieson’s work in regional Victoria spurs the establishment of offices across the state, including Korumburra in 1895 and Daylesford in 1897.


William Ah Ket joins Maddock, Johnson & Jamieson and completes his articled clerkship. William is believed to be one of the first people of Chinese background to practise as a solicitor in Australia. He joined the Victorian Bar in 1904 and was a barrister until his death in 1936. William’s contribution to the law was honoured with the inaugural launch of the William Ah Ket Scholarship in 2017.

Find out more about the William Ah Ket Sponsorship.


Andrew McGregor Lonie joins the firm, starting a link between the Lonie family and the firm that will span three generations and more than 80 years. The firm is renamed Maddock, Jamieson & Lonie.


Lyston Arthur Chisholm joins the firm as a partner. This starts a connection between the Chisholm family that continued into the 21st century. The firm subsequently becomes Maddock Lonie & Chisholm, a name that lasts until 2004.


Jean Alcorn is the first woman to be appointed a partner of the firm. In 2020, about 37% of our partners are women.


Managing Partner John Chisholm, Chairman Ian Lonie and Partner and Executive Member David Laidlaw spearhead the firm’s expansion and introduces equal partnership shares. The Commercial, Property, Construction and Workplace Services teams expand their remits. These changes see a 77% increase in revenue between 1994 and 1996.


The firm streamlines its objectives and adopts five core values. These values, which remain to this day, are:

• Integrity

• Collaboration

• Commitment to doing things better

• Respect for the individual and diversity

• Stewardship

This comes one year after Maddocks launches the Maddocks Women’s Network, with an aim of increasing participation of women in networking activities and professional development.

For more information, visit Maddocks Women.


Maddocks begins its national expansion with its first premises in Sydney. By this stage, the firm has grown to more than 200 staff, including more than 20 partners.


Maddock Lonie & Chisholm engages in a major rebrand, part of which is changing the firm’s name to Maddocks. The rebrand also sees the introduction of the firm’s distinctive logo.


Maddocks opens its Canberra office. This is an important step for servicing Commonwealth Government clients and builds on the firm’s considerable government expertise.


Michelle Dixon is appointed as the firm’s CEO, the first woman to hold the position in the firm’s history. Michelle joined the firm in 1996 and was head of the firm’s Commercial Disputes team (now Dispute Resolution & Litigation).


David Newman is appointed as the firm’s CEO. Since joining Maddocks in 2000, David has held a range of leadership positions and made a significant contribution to the firm through his involvement in developing the firm’s innovation strategy.

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