Van Aardt (pictured) left Rockwell Olivier in December last year and officially began his new role at Kott Gunning on 6 January.
“Kott Gunning is actively developing its corporate practice,” he told Lawyers Weekly. “This coupled with Kott Gunning’s traditional structure, client focus and impressive team, was a strong draw card for me.”
During more than four-and-a-half years at Rockwell Olivier, van Aardt advised on a range of corporate and commercial matters, specialising in M&A.
Emma Leys, a commercial partner at Kott Gunning, commented that van Aardt’s appointment would allow the firm to offer a corporate M&A service to its clients.
Van Aardt’s move follows a series of high-profile departures from Rockwell Olivier’s Perth office since the publicly-listed firm officially launched in May 2013.
Lawyers Weekly exclusively revealed in July last year that Rockwell Olivier had dropped 11 staff in Perth, including its insurance head, Roger Sands, who has since joined Sparke Helmore.
The firm’s Perth CEO, Mark Hemery (pictured left), also resigned in July after just nine months in the role. He joined Hotchkin Hanly in November last year as a partner in the firm’s litigation practice.
That same month, two of Rockwell Olivier’s practice heads, Jarrod Ryan and Rob Durey, departed for Murfett Legal, telling Lawyers Weekly at the time that they felt their practices weren’t supported at the firm.
Rockwell Olivier, which is owned by ASX-listed legal services aggregator ILH, is one of only a few publicly-listed law firms in Australia. Shine Corporate is the latest firm to list on the ASX, joining Slater & Gordon, which went public in 2007.
In November, Rockwell Olivier announced its merger with Perth firm Civic Legal, due to take effect this quarter. The merger will see the united firms operating under the Rockwell Olivier name.
Rockwell Olivier also has offices in Melbourne and Sydney.