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AFL completes acquisition of Withnalls Lawyers

Listed family law practice AF Legal has completed its acquisition of Darwin-based firm Withnalls Lawyers, thereby finalising its expansion into the Northern Territory.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 31 January 2022 Big Law
AFL completes acquisition of Withnalls Lawyers
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In October of last year, AF Legal Group (ASX: AFL), otherwise known as Australian Family Lawyers, announced to the market that it was acquiring majority ownership of Darwin-based family law firm Withnalls Lawyers.

The move means that the listed national firm would have a presence in seven Australian jurisdictions and follows its acquisition in late December of ACT-based firm Strong Law and the finalisation of its acquisitions in June and July of 2021 of NSW-based practice Watts McCray and Melbourne-based firm Kordos Lawyers, respectively.

AFL has acquired 51 per cent of Withnalls shares for upfront consideration of $447,287 and upfront script consideration of $447,287, calculated by the price of AFL shares based on the volume-weighted average price for the 20 business days prior to completion issued on Monday, 31 January 2022.


In a statement, AFL noted that Withnalls recorded over $2.5 million in professional fees in the last financial year and that the acquisition is “expected to be highly earnings accretive” for the listed company.

“With a residential population in excess of 250,000 Australians, Darwin is the last remaining capital city on mainland Australia where the company does not have a presence,” the firm said in its statement to the market.

“In addition, there is also a significant transitional population supported by people movements and employment contracts in defence, public sector, mining FIFO and a renewal in tourism post-COVID.

“Withnalls has been providing exclusive specialist family law service to Territorians for over 16 years. Its principal, Vanessa Farmer, has lived in the Northern Territory since 1974 and has practiced for over 20 years.”

AFL executive chairman Grant Dearlove (pictured) added that the partnership “expands our presence in all mainland jurisdictions and arrives at a time when the demand for family law legal services is rising, as the Northern Territory experiences growth in the general population and its economy”.

“We look forward to working with Vanessa to grow an already impressive market share,” he proclaimed.

At the time of the acquisition announcement, Ms Farmer said that she was “very much looking forward” to the partnership with AFL and that her firm was “ready to grow”.

“Our existing practice is underwritten by our history of quality work and referrals. Now with AFL’s digital presence and its operating efficiencies, we can grow faster and deliver to more Territorians seeking the strength of a modern national family law firm with a long-standing local presence,” she said.