DLA loses bulk of Canberra partners in wake of Aussie merger

Six of DLA Piper’s eight Canberra partners have left the firm just weeks after the firm’s Australian arm merged with the international LLP.


The six partners, who specialise in pharmaceutical and life sciences work for government clients, will help establish Australian firm HWL Ebsworth’s new Canberra office.

According to DLA Piper, the six partners were in favour of the merger as the best course of action for DLA Phillips Fox and even voted as such. However, they have left the firm due to concerns about client conflicts.

A spokesman for DLA Piper said: “We can confirm that six Canberra-based partners have resigned. These partners have indicated that while they agreed overall with the integration with DLA Piper they themselves do not wish to be part of a global business law firm.  Instead, they’d prefer to retain and support their existing client bases and local practices elsewhere.”

The six partners leaving the firm are: Richard Garnett, Lex Holcombe, Stuart Imrie, George Marques, Melanie McKean and Michael Will. DLA Piper now has two partners left in Canberra.

In March, nine partners left DLA Phillips Fox’s Brisbane office ahead of the merger with DLA Piper to join Thomsons Lawyers (21 March 2011).

DLA Phillips Fox merged with DLA Piper on 1 May. The New Zealand arm of the firm did not form part of the merger and has kept the DLA Phillips Fox brand (3 May 2011).

HWL Ebsworth is an Australian commercial law firm with offices in Brisbane, Melbourne, Norwest Business Park and Sydney.