Australian News Roundup: Big Four accounting firm nabs another top lawyer to aid legal assault

by NZ Lawyer16 Jun 2014
Big Four accounting firm nabs another top lawyer to aid legal assault

KPMG Tax Law has established a permanent presence in the Brisbane market after recruiting David Marschke, previously a tax partner with lawyers McCullough Robertson.
The move is a step towards the practice’s projected national footprint and will complement its other permanent offices in Sydney and Melbourne.
It also comes after all of the Big Four accounting firms - KPMG, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young – confirmed that they were employing strategies to take a piece of the legal market pie.
And Marschke is not the first to jump ship – Sarah Dunn, a former senior litigation partner with Herbert Smith Freehills, also recently joined the practice as a partner in Sydney.
Peter Bobbin, managing principal of law firm Rockwell Olivier’s Sydney office told Australasian Lawyer  that such poaching from the already limited legal talent pool is one of the biggest threats that mid-larger tier law firms face in Australia.

Aussie managing principal becomes face of IAG in Asia Pacific

The managing principal (international) of Australian-based law firm Rockwell Olivier will be the face of professional services in Asia Pacific after being appointed to the executive committee of Integrated Advisory Group International (IAG).
The appointment means that John Ridgway will be the principal IAG representative in the region and will have the opportunity to recruit other like-minded firms from Asia Pacific.
Ridgway told NZ Lawyer sister publication, Australasian Lawyer that his appointment is a huge deal for Rockwell Olivier, because it has cemented the firm’s quest to extend its Pacific Legal Network (PLN) across all parts of Asia, both developed and emerging.
“Rockwell Olivier has, via the Pacific Legal Network, the only co-ordinated legal and advisory business which spans the seas between Singapore and Hawaii,” he says.
Baker & McKenzie nab former ACCC director

Baker & McKenzie has nabbed experienced local and international competition partner Rowan McMonnies, who joins the firms from Corrs Chambers Westgarth.
He is the fifth lateral partner appointment in the last year, with the firm also hiring partners Martin Irwin (major projects and infrastructure), Ellen Thomas (Tax); Sean Selleck (Employment) and Amanda Turnill (Life Sciences).
McMonnies brings 15 years’ of experience with him to the Sydney office, having held senior positions at other top tier law firms as well as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), where he was a director in the mergers branch and a principal lawyer advising the enforcement and compliance division.
He told NZ Lawyer sister publication, Australasian Lawyer, that the competition space is one to watch because clients have increased their expectations across the industry, which has had a definite impact on competition work.
“It’s hard to fake fingertip expertise and cost control in a merger or cartel investigation context so it’s the firms that have put together the right expertise and structures that are well placed,” he says
He says he’s also made some strong contacts in his period of practice, which will only help to expand Baker & McKenzie’s competition group over time.
DLA Piper reverses traditional workspace with new Sydney office

DLA Piper’s Sydney office has officially relocated and has been redesigned from scratch, flipping the perception of a traditional legal workspace on its head.
The new flagship office at No. 1 Martin Place is in the heart of Sydney’s business and financial community and occupies four open plan floors on a 10-year lease.
And although Sydney’s DLA Piper team may have a bit to get used to, feedback about the new space has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Sydney office managing partner, Onno Bakker.
“Traditionally, lawyers all have their own offices, but that’s all changing – we’ve got open space,” says Bakker. “Junior lawyers will have first-hand opportunities to see how more experienced practitioners work. There’s a greater team feeling.”
While partners will have the choice between having their own office, sharing an office, or joining the team in the open plan section, the design aesthetic of this is also a reversal of tradition.
Rather than being placed around the outer core of the building as is typical, the individual offices are at the centre of the space, with the open plan layout wrapping around them and boasting premium access to windows and natural light.
There are also communal facilities throughout the space including kitchens on every level, a 400 square metre outdoor terrace, and a central spiral stairwell that connects the three work floors.
“We have much more inter-group communication because of the open plan,” says Bakker. “There’s a lot more space we can now use to grow and take on more people.”