In its 2020 annual report, U.K.-based DWF described the Australian arm of the listed law firm as “a standout in terms of growth.” But it was unbridled growth that ultimately was responsible for DWF shuttering its law offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle earlier this year, leaving the Australian arm of the firm a skeleton of what it had been, former firm insiders say.

“It was growth, growth, growth and don’t worry about costs,” said one former DWF partner. “[The approach was], ‘let’s take a full floor in Sydney; let’s take a million-dollar premises in Melbourne; let’s grab partners from where we can,’”