BLP plugs gap in market with swoop on Dorsey for tax expert

Berwin Leighton Paisner

(BLP) has continued its strategy of ramping up its tax practice by hiring star tax partner Liesl Fichardt from US firm Dorsey & Whitney.

Fichardt, who will join BLP as a partner, will develop the firm’s contentious and international group within the tax department.

Managing partner Neville Eisenberg said building up BLP’s tax offering made sound strategic sense.

“It’s interesting that not many firms have identified tax as a key area,” said Eisenberg. “We see real opportunity to develop the practice as we think clients value high-level tax advice.

“There’s a gap in the market.”

Fichardt’s hire follows that of partner Michael Wistow from Clifford Chance in June, who filled BLP’s newly created head of tax position.

Although her departure is a blow to Dorsey, the firm last week hired key tax official Paul Farmer as a partner from the European Commission, where he was head of analysis and coordination of tax policies. Head of tax litigation at Dorsey Simon Whitehead said the timing was coincidental.

Dorsey has made a name for itself in the contentious tax market, with its only competitor being DLA Piper, which launched its practice with raids on Dorsey, McGrigors and Reynolds Porter Chamberlain.