DLA Piper Asia Pacific partner departures continue

DLA Piper has seen three more partners leaving its Asia Pacific offices, one each in Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney.

In Melbourne, DLA Piper’s previous joint head of real estate for Asia Pacific, Tom Cantwell, has joined Australian mid-tier firm Mills Oakley. In Sydney, insurance partner Michael Down will also leave the firm for Mills Oakley. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong the firm has seen the exit of insurance partner Will Harrison.

Cantwell has over 20 years’ experience working on complex and high-value, property-based transactions. Last June, he led a team from DLA Piper and advised global asset management giant Aviva Investors on the acquisition of Australian properties worth approximately $200 million. He joins Mills Oakley as a partner and has taken his team to the firm.

Down’s practice focuses on general liability, professional indemnity, insurance and defamation. His clients include several local government insurance schemes and he has acted for Lloyd’s of London underwriters in a number of High Court disputes. He will start at Mills Oakley as a partner in October.

The Melbourne office of DLA Piper also recently lost a team of four superannuation lawyers to Australian firm Hall & Wilcox (23 July 2013). That team was led by partner Heather Gray, who has 25 years of experience in superannuation, financial services and trusts.

In Hong Kong, insurance partner Harrison also decided to retire from private practice to take up opportunities elsewhere.

The latest exits follow the departure of three partners from the firm’s Singapore office within a year. Most recently, former Singapore managing partner and TMT lawyer Matthew Glynn resigned from the firm to explore entrepreneurship (14 August 2013).

DLA Piper has gone through a regional shake-up in Asia Pacific following former UK head Andrew Darwin’s relocation to Australia as country managing partner (17 January 2013) and former EMEA finance and projects group head Bob Charlton’s relocation to Hong Kong as Asia Pacific managing director (3 April 2012).

In a recent video interview with The Lawyer, DLA Piper’s global co-chairman Tony Angel emphasised that the firm needed to be bigger in Asia (3 September 2013).