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Exclusive: Embattled Perth firm loses practice head

Exclusive: Embattled Perth firm loses practice head

The struggling Perth arm of Rockwell Olivier has lost a principal to a fast-growing mid tier set to open its fifth Australian office.


Kym Kerr, a family law principal at Rockwell Olivier, will be one of the founding members of Mills Oakley’s new Perth office.

Lawyers Weekly understands that Kerr has been appointed as a special counsel in the family law practice.

Lawyers Weekly further understands that Mills Oakley’s Perth office will also include a corporate & commercial, litigation, property and insurance practice.

Kerr’s appointment follows revelations that Rockwell Olivier in Perth has entered voluntary administration. It is unclear whether Kerr’s decision to leave the firm preceded the announcement.

Kerr joined Rockwell Olivier (then Talbot Olivier) in 2010 after holding partner roles at Hunt & Hunt and Mark & Sands Lawyers.

Kerr did not respond to queries from Lawyers Weekly prior to publication.

Mills Oakley also declined to comment on the appointment and the forthcoming Perth launch when approached by Lawyers Weekly.

The firm, which opened its fourth office in Canberra last October, has grown its partnership by 50 per cent over the past two years. Recent lateral hires include banking and finance partner Petar Kuessner and the former head of Piper Alderman’s Sydney office Frazer Hunt, along with his team of lawyers.

Over the same period, Rockwell Olivier’s partnership in Perth suffered a series of blows, including the departures of Charmaine Tsang, the former head of the workplace relations team, and former CEO Mark Hemery.

Rockwell Olivier also has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.

The firm is part of the Integrated Legal Holdings (ILH) Group, a publicly-listed professional services organisation. ILH announced late last year that it had been placed into voluntary administration.

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