23 January 2018

Bucking the trends in business - Archie Tsirimokos

| Tim Benson
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Archie Tsirimokos, Chair, Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers.

Archie Tsirimokos, Chair, Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers.

Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers are one of the largest law firms in town. Behind every successful business there is a strong team, and at the head of every team is a hardworking leader. In MV’s case, that leader is their Chair, Archie Tsirimokos.

Archie leads a team of partners at Meyer Vandenberg that consists of:

  • Christine Murray (Managing Partner)
  • Alisa Taylor
  • Geoff Adams
  • Alice Tay
  • Bernice Ellis

Archie is the son of first-generation Greek Australian parents. He was born in Wagga Wagga and moved to Canberra when he was nine. He went to Red Hill Primary, Telopea Park High and Narrabundah College. He studied economics and law at ANU, graduating in 1984.

His first job was with Vandenberg Reid Pappas and MacDonald’s in 1985. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1986. It was based in Braddon with a staff of approximately 20.

“I was an articled clerk and worked for two of the partners, Ross Reid and Jack Pappas. I eventually landed in litigation work with Jack,” Archie said.

“What I like about litigation was the negotiating and running my own arguments in court.”

Archie was made a partner in 1989.

Asked why he was made a partner at such a young age Archie said, “I worked hard, learned a lot and developed a reputation for being a good lawyer.”

At this stage in his career, Archie was mainly doing commercial litigation and some criminal law and personal injuries work.

“I wasn’t planning to do litigation, but the opportunity to work with Jack arose, and I jumped at it,” Archie explained.

In the early 90s, Jack Pappas left the firm and Archie headed up litigation at age 29.

“I ‘didn’t know what I didn’t know’ and it was a steep learning curve. I got through with hard work. I was fortunate to have the ability to digest difficult concepts and explain them simply,” Archie outlined.

“I’ve always been a good listener. Some lawyers have a tendency to offer solutions, but sometimes it’s not what the client wants. You can be offering a Rolls Royce solution when the client is looking for a Toyota.

“In the early 1990s one of the partners passed away and another partner was struck off. I went to the partners and said that this needed to be sorted out. So, in my early 30s, I was made managing partner of Vandenberg Reid.”

Archie developed his expertise in the property space and by the early 2000s, it was the bulk of his work.

In 2005 the firm merged with Meyer Clapham to become the biggest firm in town with around 70 staff.

“The merged firm repositioned in the market and had more depth, people, and expertise,” Archie stated.

Archie was appointed Chairman of the new firm with Paul Green as Managing Partner. The two roles were merged and Archie was appointed Managing Partner the following year.

According to Archie, the firm has worked hard to reset itself. Some partners have retired and have been replaced.

“We are a firm that is strong in property but also branched into work in the government space,” Archie said.

What does the future hold for Meyer Vandenberg?

Archie says the future is strong for the firm, with growth and community involvement as high priorities.

“Meyer Vandenberg takes its corporate citizenship very seriously. Our approach is to embrace our corporate aims of being a successful local business while demonstrating that we ‘get’ that we have a more substantial responsibility to give back to the local community.

Each year our Community Engagement team select members of the community that are disadvantaged and we provide them legal services at no cost.

The Partners also make sure that the charities that we raise funds for are local, are nominated by our staff, and that the Charity contributes to the society that we all live and work in.”

“We have strong roots in Canberra, but there may be other opportunities where our clients want to go and grow. We want to remain a strong Canberra presence in property law, commercial law, and government. We also encourage a strong community involvement with the firm,” Archie concluded.

Archie and Meyer Vandenberg are Canberra to the core. They are Canberra’s largest independent law firm, concentrating on property, commercial and government law. They are lucky to have a strong leadership team and Archie Tsirimokos at the helm.

In 2018 Meyer Vandenberg are supporting the FLY Program, a men’s mental health program. Their partners and lawyers sit on many boards in Canberra from the government to large and small not for profits including Havelock House, LEAD and the Canberra Business Chamber.

Archie is Deputy Chair of the Canberra Business Chamber and recently retired as Chair of Communities@Work.

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