Lovegrove & Cotton – 25 Year Corporate Anniversary
Where it All Began
Lovegrove and Cotton, in its original incarnation, was established in the midst of the recession of 1993. The firm’s founder, Kim Lovegrove, was intent on establishing a building law practice having resigned as a partner at the law firm Home Wilkinson Lowry.
In 1998, The Hon. Robert Maclellan, MLA opened the offices of Lovegrove Solicitors at 555 King St.
Plaque for the opening of Lovegrove’s former King St offices
In the early nineties, Kim headed a team that developed the National Model Building Act which became the regulatory blueprint for the overhauling of building regulation in a number of Australian jurisdictions.
Kim then went on to become the assistant director in building control with the Victorian government, in which capacity he became instructing officer to parliamentary counsel to advise on the development and introduction of the Victorian Building Act 1993.
In the mid-nineties, whilst focusing on growing the boutique building law firm, Kim was also appointed as a deputy executive director to the Australian Building Codes Board. Hence, Kim remained involved with building codification law reform.
Lovegrove Solicitors grew throughout the nineties and it became an insurance defendant practice in which capacity it acted for insured defendants, such as the likes of building surveyors, builders and engineers. The firm was engaged by the NSW government in the late nineties to advise on the establishment of private certification and liability reforms to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.
The new millennium coincided with a return to building practitioner defendant work where the firm enhanced its reputation as a cross-jurisdictional dispute resolution practice.
The ‘Justin Cotton Era’
The year 2002 saw the arrival of Justin Cotton, who hails from New Zealand. During his early years at the firm, Justin displayed a natural flair for construction law. He also focused on developing a particular expertise in building practitioner professional misconduct advocacy. Justin’s dexterity in the construction law arena has resulted in him forging a reputation, over the last two decades, as a preeminent practitioner advocate in Victoria, NSW and Canberra.
After a small hiatus ten years ago, Justin returned to Lovegrove Solicitors and was made a partner at the firm. Justin never looked back and now heads up the firm in his capacity as director.
In 2016, Justin was made the chair of the HIA Industrial Relations and Legal Services Committee, and a member of the Regional Executive Committee, for the HIA Victorian Chapter.
Justin, who is also a qualified journalist, writes prolifically. Some 230,000 people have read his articles on Sourceable. Justin is the principle author for the Lovegrove & Cotton Bulletin and articles found in our Publications Library.
The firm presently has carriage of matters in Victoria, NSW and the ACT; although in respect of NSW the practice has now been limited to representing accredited certifiers.
A Reputation Built on Heritage and Construction Law Expertise
Over the 25 years of practice, Lovegrove & Cotton has garnered a reputation as a preeminent Australian construction law firm and for three years in a row has been rated by Doyles Guide as one of the top construction law firms in the country.
Lovegrove and Cotton has also left an indelible footprint in the fabric of law reform in the Antipodes. The firm, in its previous incarnations has helped fashion modern day building regulation in a number of Australian jurisdictions that heralded proportionate liability, compulsory registration and insurance of building practitioners in jurisdictions such as Victoria and the NT, along with probity and oversight regimes.
Kim Lovegrove was also retained by the World Bank as a consultant to review building regulations in Mumbai and New Delhi.
Lovegrove & Cotton are committed to helping those who are in need and who live without many of the pleasantries that those in our profession take for granted. One of our humanitarian commitments is to provide help to HIV affected orphans and families in Ethiopia.
The firm has a very strong link with Ethiopia, and the relationship between the firm and the country heralds from Kim Lovegrove’s upbringing in Africa, more specifically, Malawi, Zambia and Ethiopia in the late 1960s. Kim’s family lineage has a strong association with the region, with his grandfather, Norman Lovegrove, having held a senior position in UNESCO in Addis Ababa.
The firm’s commitment to Ethiopia has been reinforced by Tsigereda Lovegrove joining the firm in 2011. Tsigereda grew up in Ethiopia, where she met Kim and she subsequently joined him in Australia, where they were married. Tsigereda is the Office Manager and is working through her law degree with the view to joining the ranks of construction lawyers in the firm in the near future.
In 2009, Kim, along with the firm’s Financial Controller, David Lawn, made a documentary on HIV and the noble work of the Hope for Children Orphanage in Ethiopia.
Hope for Children was established some years ago and provides a home and sustenance for many hundreds of children who have been affected by the HIV epidemic.
For ten years, Lovegrove and Cotton and its previous incarnations funded the in-house lawyer at the Hope For Children (HFC) NGO for children orphaned by HIV. As the lawyer, Rahel, has moved on to another position, Lovegrove and Cotton continues to help fund the chief operating officer at HFC.
It is this sort of commitment to philanthropy that led to Kim Lovegrove being awarded the RML, Royal Medal of the Lion, by Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie (President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia and grandson of the late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie) in late 2017.
The Ebola Building Standard
In addition to the work done on the ground and through financial support, the firm has also collaborated on intellectual initiatives such as the Ebola Building Standard that canvassed best practice building protocols to diminish the chance of the spread of Ebola in buildings and other built environments.
25 Years On, and To the Future – The Firm & Justin’s Vision
“Moving forward, Lovegrove & Cotton will build upon its established reputation and legacy in the building and construction law industry, whilst maintaining its strong connections with Ethiopia.
The firm looks forward to continuing to serve its excellent client base, and continuing to make an impact on the building regulatory ecology across Australia.
The firm is excited for our paralegal team to join our lawyers when they complete their respective law degrees and legal training. In many respects, the firm is investing in the future and this will prove to benefit not only the firm, but our loyal clients as well.
To our loyal clients, stakeholders and colleagues, thank you. You have helped the firm realise this achievement – 25 years is a substantial corporate milestone. I look forward to the next 25.” – Justin Cotton