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Kott Gunning closes its doors, partners jump to BigLaw firms

After over 100 years of practising law in Western Australia, Perth-based firm Kott Gunning has shut its doors as its partners move across to national practices.

user iconLauren Croft 08 December 2021 Big Law
Kott Gunning
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Kott Gunning has officially shut down its operations in Perth, with a number of partners and other staff moving to national firms Hall & Wilcox and Moray & Agnew.

“After a long and proud history within the Western Australian legal landscape, Kott Gunning has ceased to operate from 3 December 2021,” the firm said in a statement.

The closure follows the news earlier this year that a team of five from the firm, led by former Kott Gunning partner John Park, had left for rival firm Dentons in March.


Three former Kott Gunning partners have joined the Moray & Agnew Perth office: Stephen Williams, Vidal Hockless and Anne Wood. All bring with them their teams from Kott Gunning.

Mr Williams and Mr Hockless both join the insurance practice and bring with them over 70 years of legal experience combined. Ms Wood will lead the firm’s local government practice and will continue to act on local government matters and provide advice and representation in connection with statutory interpretation, building and construction, occupational health and safety, planning and development, litigation and administrative law.

Commenting on the trio’s exodus to Moray & Agnew, Mr Williams said: “We were looking for a firm that would be the right fit for our clients, our team and ultimately for us here in Western Australia, so we are pleased to be joining such an established firm as Moray & Agnew.”

Managing partner of Moray & Agnew Perth, Phil Keays, said the new appointments would be valuable additions to the firm’s Western Australia offering.

“The skill sets and capabilities Stephen, Vidal and Anne bring to our practice complement what we do, add to our firm’s local government expertise and add extra strength and depth to the ways in which we look after our clients,” he said.

“It is an exciting time to bring such senior and respected practitioners into the partnership, and ultimately good for all of our clients and our teams.”

Additionally, a team of six has joined Hall & Wilcox’s Perth office from Kott Gunning: partner Emma Leys, special counsel Claire Hawke-Gundill, lawyer Daphne Schilizzi, two paralegals and a legal assistant.

Ms Leys has over 25 years’ experience advising on all aspects of property and commercial law and her practice areas include property, finance, corporate, commercial and local government law as well. Ms Hawke-Gundill works primarily with accountants, financial planners and other intermediaries and has over a decade of experience specialising in wills and estates.

Commenting on their new appointments, the pair said they are “delighted to be joining Hall & Wilcox”.

“We’re excited to be a part of the firm’s strategic growth in Perth and we are looking forward to the many opportunities that come with being part of a national firm that has such a strong reputation for its culture and for working collaboratively and innovatively,” they said.

Managing partner Tony Macvean said Hall & Wilcox had a strategic focus to develop and expand its Perth commercial practice and offering.

“We now have a full-service commercial practice in Perth led by a high calibre cohort of partners and senior lawyers including Hector West, Penelope Ford, Rosemary Roach, Nicholas Beech, Scott Meacock and Andrew Giorgi, as well as Emma, Claire and Christine,” he said.

“Our Perth commercial practice has quadrupled in size in the past few months. With such an experienced and capable group of people on board, we look forward to continuing to make a significant impact on the Perth and WA legal market.”