Rick Narev had been a partner at two-office firm Arnold Bloch Leibler for two and a half years, and was a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills for more than 15 years prior to that.
Narev has brought his team across to Addisons, including senior associate Kate Logan and lawyer Brad Joffe.
The appointment follows the departure of Addisons partner Kristy Dixon, who joined Marque Lawyers as the new head of corporate and M&A in March.
Speaking exclusively to Lawyers Weekly, Addisons managing partner Laura Hartley said Narev’s appointment was not connected to Dixon’s exit.
“We were not just filling what others might consider a hole left by Kristy,” she said.
Rather, the firm was in a position to recruit another partner and Narev had indicated he was keen to make a move, Hartley explained.
Another factor that helped to seal the deal was Narev’s long-time friendship with Addisons partner Justine Munsie.
Hartley commented that personal connections can make “a huge difference” to a partner who is shopping around for a new firm.
“That person will honestly tell them about the place as a friend, not just as someone who wants them to join the partnership,” she said.
“Justine has been very happy here ... and I know that was hugely important and gave a lot of comfort to Rick.”
Large law blues
Arnold Bloch Leibler, a Melbourne-headquartered firm, launched its Sydney office in 2002.
Hartley said Addisons, on the other hand, doesn’t have “pins in the map”.
“We’re a Sydney-based firm; we’re not a firm focused on having interstate offices just for the sake of it,” she said, adding that Narev was attracted to Addisons’ “uncluttered” structure.
Hartley said a number of partners who have joined Addisons had become disenfranchised by the large law “machine”. She added that she is not surprised by the trend of senior partners at national and global firms moving to smaller outfits or, in the case of Hive Legal and LCR Advisory, starting their own firm.
“A theme we hear constantly from partners approaching us in relation to leaving large firms is: I want to be able to have a say, I’m an owner of the business and I don’t just want to be a glorified employee,” said Hartley.
Narev is no exception, citing Addisons’ collegiate partner model as one of the reasons why he joined the firm.
“[Addisons] is a firm where Rick, as a partner, really does have a say ... partners empowered to give their point of view and all opinions are taken into the mix of decisions that are made in the business,” said Hartley.
Addisons made three lateral partner hires and two internal partner promotions in 2013. The firm currently has 17 partners, including Narev.
Rick Narev’s bother, Ian Narev, is the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank.