Dentons has recruited 17 partners in Australia from midsize local firm DibbsBarker, which is winding down operations after a history of more than 130 years.
Both firms announced last week that DibbsBarker partners specializing in financial services, real estate and corporate practices will start at Dentons on May 1. Ten of the partners will join Dentons in Sydney, five in Brisbane and two in Melbourne, according to a statement.
Meanwhile, DibbsBarker, will cease operations as of Apr. 30. “We are delighted that our partners, along with other team members, are joining a leading global firm with a strong local presence,” said Dibbs’ Sydney-based managing partner Stephen Purcell, who will not join Dentons. Dibbs lists 52 lawyers on its website.
The news follows the combination of fellow midmarket firm Henry Davis York’s combination into Norton Rose Fulbright, which went live Dec. 1, 2017. Henry Davis York had about 180 lawyers when the deal was reached.
At least six more Dibbs partners decided to pursue other paths rather than join the world’s largest law firm. Sydney-based national leasing practice head Bill Burrough will retire. Melbourne-based restructuring partner Joanne Hardwick will move to midsize rival Piper Alderman. Real estate duo Jane Wild and Andrew Flannery will head to HWL Ebsworth.
Banking partner Brad Allen, who moved to Dibbs in 2015 from Clayton Utz, chose to join the new Gadens office in Sydney. The legacy Sydney office of Australian firm Gadens became part of Dentons in late 2016 alongside offices in Perth and the Papua New Guinea capital Port Moresby, while the Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide offices remain separate entities. Gadens relaunched a Sydney office in late 2017 with recruits from DLA Piper and legacy Henry Davis York, among other local firms.
Employment partner Fay Calderone will join Hall & Wilcox, which hired a three-partner, 20-lawyer team from Dibbs’ Brisbane office earlier in March—before the Dentons deal was announced.
In 2016, Dibbs’ then-Canberra office broke off from the firm and joined the Brisbane-based firm McInnes Wilson in the Australian capital.
The deal will give Dentons significant growth in Brisbane, which currently operates in association with Gadens’ Brisbane office and has no resident lawyer of its own.
Earlier this month, the global network of law firms also announced a new round of combinations that included firms in Malaysia and Indonesia. If approved by partners later this year, these deals will expand Dentons’ global reach to 73 countries.