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Top 10 Australian firm Deacons has been rocked by the departure of its national head of workplace relations, along with his team and a number of clients.
Ross Levin is quitting to join Pricewaterhouse Coopers Legal as a partner in the employment law group. The four-strong team will be based in the Melbourne office.
Levin, who is a qualified barrister and solicitor, has spent his entire career focusing on employment.
While at Deacons he has acted on some of Australia's biggest industrial cases, including the Citilink Project and La Trobe Valley EBA dispute.
PwC Legal chairman John Churchill says: "Ross and his team increase the strength of our already substantial employment law capability.
"The appointment reinforces our objective of substantially expanding the firm's Australian operations. I am delighted by the number of clients who have chosen to follow him."
His clients include leading Asian companies such as the Wilson Parking Group.
Levin says he was attracted to PwC Legal because of its multi-disciplinary approach. He says: "Clients want access to highly trained professionals, providing full service across the broad spectrum of employment.
"The legal side is just one very small part and lawyers are not skilled or equipped to do that sort of thing."
PwC Legal launched in Australia less than a year ago, when 27 partners joined from Dunhill Madden Butler's Sydney office.
Dunhill Madden then went on to merge with Levin's former firm Deacons on 1 August (The Lawyer, 26 June). Before tying the knot, Deacons had been in talks with Deloitte & Touche, the only big five accountant not to have an Australian legal arm.
Deacons' chief executive Don Boyd says that while he is sorry that Levin has left, the practice will continue to grow. Partner Stuart Kollmorgen takes over Levin's role.