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Melbourne-based firm Middletons Moore & Bevins is bolstering its Sydney presence by opening a trade and transport office.
The firm already has a presence in the city. But it was shaken last summer when a quarter of the Sydney partners left after a merger with an unspecified accountant was rejected (The Lawyer, 30 August).
The departures were a blow to the 71-partner practice, traditionally regarded as being stronger in Melbourne than in Sydney.
But Middletons says the new office is being established because of a need to focus on national, rather than state-based, maritime law. Melbourne has traditionally acted as a centre for bulk shipping.
Last year, the firm poached Maddock Lonie & Chisholm Don Chisholm's managing partner, who became chief executive of the Melbourne office (The Lawyer, 17 December).
Part of his role is to focus on the firm's client base.