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BigLaw firm acquires boutique, adds 4 partners to its ranks

Wotton + Kearney (W+K) has announced its acquisition of Ball + Partners — a boutique health law firm, following suit with several other BigLaw firm acquisitions of boutiques. 

user iconJess Feyder 17 November 2022 Big Law
BigLaw firm acquires boutique, adds 4 partners to its ranks
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Based in Melbourne, Ball + Partners draw from nearly 60 years of experience. 

The firm is recognised by Doyles as the only first-tier medical negligence and malpractice law firm in Victoria, with its partners also being the only individuals in Victoria to achieve a pre-eminent ranking. 

The acquisition sees W+K welcome four new partners to its health team — Lara Larking, John Arranga, Andrew Smith and Russell Ball. 


“Our existing healthcare team, including partners Chris Spain, Marie-Clare Elder and Claudine Watson-Kyme, has been reinventing the traditional healthcare law offering since the practice was launched in 2020,” Wotton + Kearney said in a statement. “They are creating something genuinely different for the market in terms of price, service delivery and approach to claims management.”

Mr Ball has experience representing medical practitioners and other health professionals in all areas of health law in all jurisdictions for 46 years. 

He has experience in disciplinary, health and performance investigations by the Medical Board of Australia and Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra), Medicare investigations, audits and prosecutions, Professional Services Review, WorkSafe and Training Accreditation Council (TAC) audits, and disputes between practitioners and hospitals.

Ms Larking has serviced the health sector for her whole career. At the request of the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA), she acted for Victorian public hospitals and their employees; she then spent seven years with Avant (and for MDAV before its merger with UMP to form Avant), representing its members in all jurisdictions.

For the last decade, Ms Larking has been recognised by Best Lawyers Australia for medical negligence.

Mr Arranga is a health and legal professional with degrees in medicine, law, and risk management. He has worked in medical indemnity as a lawyer, a claims manager and as a senior executive within Avant for 12 years, where he headed Medical Defence Services for Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT.

With over 20 years of experience, Mr Smith has assisted doctors in a variety of forums, including claims for negligence, the Coroners Court, Ahpra, Medicare, Drugs & Poisons Regulation, the Fair Work Commission, disputes with training colleges, hospitals and WorkSafe. For the past four years, he has been recognised by Best Lawyers Australia for medical negligence.

This latest acquisition made by W+K reflects that of several other BigLaw firms, which have expanded their practices to acquire boutiques. 

In September, Mills Oakley acquired boutique Patrick & Associates and insurance boutique Vardanega Roberts. Earlier in the year, Arnold Thomas & Becker acquired John McCristal Injury Lawyers.

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