DLA Piper's Australia head denies problems in Melbourne

June 30, 2014 DLA Piper’s Australian managing partner, Andrew Darwin, has said that mass partner defections in Melbourne do not signal conflict within the firm, and has dismissed talk that the Melbourne office is under threat.

DLA’s Melbourne office now has 24 partners, down from 43 in June 2012. In the past 12 months alone the firm saw 13 partners leave the office.

Andrew Darwin took over the role as Australian managing partner from Tony Holland in March 2013.

Key among the departures are senior corporate partners Steven Casper and Richard Moshinsky, former Melbourne office head Peter Monk, former Australian managing partner Tony Holland, infrastructure partner Damian McNair, partner Simon Davidson, DLA’s joint Asia-Pacific real estate head Tom Cantwell, and financial services expert Heather Gray.

Darwin strongly denied that the defections are the symptom of a broader dissatisfaction among partner ranks. But Lawyers Weekly reports that unnamed sources have indicated that partners are unhappy with the firm’s Australian strategy. In particular sources say that many believe that Phillips Fox was the wrong merger partner for DLA Piper and that a smaller, more targeted Australian practice would have been preferable.

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