Conflict of interest forces Perth firm to second partner

A SENIOR partner at Australian firm Freehill Hollingdale & Page is going on sabbatical to resolve a conflict of interest which nearly scuppered the firm's merger with Perth firm Parker & Parker.

It has been revealed that the merger, announced last month, was in danger of not going ahead after Freehills' partners refused to accept demands that senior litigation partner Konrad de Kerloy leave.

De Kerloy acted for client Bell Group Finance two years ago over its ongoing action against Parker & Parker client Westpac. Bell Group liquidator Geoff Totterdell demanded that de Kerloy leave Freehills if the merger was to happen.

According to Freehills, de Kerloy, who was to head the new litigation department, was happy to work on secondment either in the UK or Canada until the litigation was over.