The personal tragedy driving Sydney's young celebrity lawyer

Bryan Wrench, 32, has become a lawyer to the stars in recent years with an ever growing list of high-profile clients across Sydney

Bryan Wrench, 32, has become a lawyer to the stars in recent years with an ever growing list of high-profile clients across Sydney

Beneath the stern and well-dressed exterior of the young lawyer celebrities turn to in a crisis is a personal heartbreak that drives him.

Bryan Wrench, 32, has defended Wolf Creek actor John Jarratt against rape charges, celebrity accountant Anthony Bell on domestic violence accusations and last week launched a strong defence of ex-NRL champion Sam Burgess.

These are just three names on the ever growing list of prominent people for whom Mr Wrench has delivered impressive results. 

But it is not fame, notoriety or money that drives him.

When the man who makes a living picking apart others in a courtroom reluctantly agreed to talk about himself for a change, he revealed how the tragic death of his mate spurs him on. 

Mr Wrench was just two months out of school at the elite Sydney Boys High when his Best Wrench Sets for Home Use mate Mitchell Seow died suddenly.

When Mr Seow won a premier’s award for his 99.6 score in the HSC a month later, Mr Wrench was asked by his mate’s parents to not only accept the trophy – but keep it.

Mr Wrench successfully defended Wolf Creek actor John Jarratt against charges of historical rape in 2019

Mr Wrench successfully defended Wolf Creek actor John Jarratt against charges of historical rape in 2019

Mr Wrench told Daily Mail Australia he is driven to work hard by the death of his best mate Mitchell Seow in 2006, shortly after the pair had graduated Sydney Boys High School

When Mr Seow (pictured) won a premier's award for his 99.6 score in the HSC a month later, Mr Wrench was asked by his mate's parents to not only accept the trophy - but keep it

Mr Wrench (left) told Daily Mail Australia he is driven to work hard by the death of his best mate Mitchell Seow (right) in 2006, shortly after the pair had graduated at Sydney Boys High School

‘I keep that with me and I was honoured to take that award he should have received,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘I still carry that with me now, but it’s not just about the trophy.

‘He was quite an ambitious guy, we both were at the time, and you knew we both had futures and when he passed away so unexpectedly I sort of had to live the one future for both of us.

‘That’s what drives me quite a lot, just how precious life is and that opportunities don’t come twice.’

 That’s what drives me quite a lot, just how precious life is
Bryan Wrench on the death of his mate Mitchell Seow 

Born to a Vietnamese mother and English father, Wrench moved around NSW a bit when he was young before his family settled in Sydney.

An only child, he began at Hurstville Public School before passing the entrance exam into the selective Sydney Boys High School for Year 7.

A keen rower and member of the rugby union side, it was in the wake of Mr Seow’s death that he began to focus entirely on his career.

And with his mate driving him on, it is little surprise he has had so much success so young.

‘There’s a lot of work that happens when the cameras aren’t on you and that is sort of the reality of what I do,’ Mr Wrench said.

‘You can get the phone call at anytime.I’ve had to meet people at 4.30am and 8pm. 

‘If you really want to succeed, as they say: “Winners do what losers don’t”. 

‘You have to really put in the hours and that’s why I’ve been lucky enough to do what I do today, but there’s a lot of sacrifice – I’ve worked every Sunday for 10 years.’

The young lawyer said he has not had a Sunday off in 10 years and is ready for the phone to ring at anytime

The young lawyer said he has not had a Sunday off in 10 years and is ready for the phone to ring at anytime

Mr Wrench last week launched a strong defence of NRL legend and current client Sam Burgess (right) over allegations of violence against Mitchell Hooke (left), the father of ex-wife Phoebe (centre)

Mr Wrench last week launched a strong defence of NRL legend and current client Sam Burgess (right) over allegations of violence against Mitchell Hooke (left), the father of ex-wife Phoebe (centre)

Last weekend it was a Saturday when Mr Wrench was pictured leaving crisis talks at the apartment of Sam Burgess alongside the family’s matriarch Julie, and Luke, the oldest of the four boys.

That meeting took place at Coogee, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, and just three days later he was in court at Moss Vale, an hour-and-a-half south of the city, defending his client.

Mr Wrench admits he is now a far different man to the teenager who first started in the offices of prominent Sydney lawyer Chris Murphy.

He began in Mr Murphy’s office carrying coffees but has progressed to become the most prominent member of his legal stable.

‘Words can’t describe how much I owe him,’ Mr Wrench said.

‘The people I work with are just amazing and they allow me to do what I do everyday.

‘They really nurtured me from when I was just a 15-year-old pimply faced kid carrying the coffees for people, it is indescribable the gratitude I have for that opportunity.’

With the coffee boy long gone Mr Wrench is now the briefcase-carrying fully fledged lawyer, with a love for a double-breasted suit.

His somewhat old school fashion sense has seen him rated among Australia’s most fashionable men, but when asked why he prefers the statement suits to the regular variety, the answer is simple: ‘Why not?’ 

‘When you go into the gladiatorial auditorium of law, you need a suit of armour and I think nothing sends a stronger message than a double-breasted suit walking into a court of law,’ Mr Wrench said. 

Since starting out he has represented Shannon Noll, Richard Pratt’s mistress Shari-Lea Hitchcock, rugby league stars Shaun Kenny Dowall and Hazem El Masri, and even Sydney activist Danny Lim.

Most recently he famously saw charges dropped against the Cook performing family who were accused of shocking child sex offences at their Blue Mountains property.

They spent more than 200 days behind bars awaiting trial, before walking free.

In the aftermath, Mr Wrench called it ‘probably the worst miscarriage of justice’ that he had ever seen. 

Among his most notable cases was the very public AVO hearing between celebrity accountant Anthony Bell (right) and his ex-wife Kelly Landry

Among his most notable cases was the very public AVO hearing between celebrity accountant Anthony Bell (right) and his ex-wife Kelly Landry

Ms Landry (left), a former Getaway host, accused her ex-husband Mr Bell (right), of assaulting her during their marriage, but the application for an AVO was ultimately dismissed

Ms Landry (left), a former Getaway host, accused her ex-husband Mr Bell (right), of assaulting her during their marriage, but the application for an AVO was ultimately dismissed

Mr Wrench has also represented Australian Idol runner-up Shannon Noll (pictured), Richard Pratt's mistress Shari-Lea Hitchcock, rugby league stars Shaun Kenny Dowall and Hazem El Masri, and even Sydney activist Danny Lim

Mr Wrench has also represented Australian Idol runner-up Shannon Noll (pictured), Richard Pratt’s mistress Shari-Lea Hitchcock, rugby league stars Shaun Kenny Dowall and Hazem El Masri, and even Sydney activist Danny Lim

While it is high-profile clients and cases like this that have seen his star rise, he says he gets just as much out of defending everyday people.

‘It is too hard to define what the best case I’ve ever done is,’ Mr Wrench said

‘Obviously the most recent one [with the Cook family], that really affected me of the recent ones, or even walking out with John Jarratt arm-in-arm, or with Anthony Bell after the AVO, that was a good one.

‘But there’s also the ones nobody has read about in the paper and some of those are the most touching.

‘One day I might be at Moss Vale (for Sam Burgess) the next day I’m at Campbelltown representing people from all walks of life. 

‘I am just thankful for every opportunity I get to defend people who need it.’