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Australian firm Minter Ellison has poached the bulk of Deacons Graham & Jones' Canberra office to create the biggest non-government practice in the capital.
All ten Deacons' partners have voted to join Minters. Offers have been made to the 90 legal and support staff also based in the office. The personnel will join Minters' four partners and 30 support staff. Deacon's Canberra chairman Russell Miller will become national head of Minters' government group.
The office will be second only in size to the Australian Government Solicitor, who it will be competing against for a share in the lucrative Government legal market.
Minters recently topped the tables as Australia's fastest growing law firm. The Canberra merger is part of an aggressive lateral hiring programme which has seen the firm poach nearly 40 partners from rival firms in the last year.
Deacons is currently undergoing a cross-state merger of its affiliated offices which is expected to be competed early in 2000.