find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Dibbs splits as Sydney office walks

Dibbs splits as Sydney office walks

A DIVERGENCE in “strategic aspirations” and “investment priorities” has been cited as the reason behind the impending break-up of Dibbs Abbott Stillman.Dibbs Abbott…

A DIVERGENCE in “strategic aspirations” and “investment priorities” has been cited as the reason behind the impending break-up of Dibbs Abbott Stillman.

Dibbs Abbott Stillman was formed three years ago as the result of a federation agreement between Dibbs Barker Gosling — which had offices in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra — and Melbourne firm Abbott Stillman & Wilson.

Last week, however, the Sydney office announced it would be withdrawing from the federation, which due to a clause in the agreement, will have the effect of dissolving the agreement entirely.

Sydney managing partner Alan McArthur explained that the Sydney and Melbourne offices each performed an analysis of their future strategic aspirations and investment priorities, and in McArthur’s view, they “didn’t sufficiently overlap” to justify Sydney continuing with the agreement.

The Sydney office, he said, is looking to invest heavily in its commercial, corporate and M&A practices, while the Melbourne office is more focused on the areas of insurance, property and banking.

“We just don’t think it’s appropriate to try and align that mix trading under the one name because, really, what we’re going to do is confuse the branding in the market place,” he said.

According to Melbourne managing partner Duncan Hart, who joined the firm just four months ago, the news came very much as a surprise.

“To be frank, it was completely unexpected,” Hart said. “I came on board here on July 1 … and it was very much my brief to pursue, to grow and to continue to develop the relationships [between the offices]. In the three months I have been here there has been a considerable amount of travel achieving just that aim, so the turnabout in Sydney was, yes, completely unexpected.”

On a practical level, Hart explained, neither office will be able to continue to use the “Dibbs Abbott Stillman” name, and there will be some work involved in splitting up services that are shared across the offices.

“There is a measure of dislocation involved … the major issues are around common facilities [such as] IT, and suppliers ranging from stationery through to recruitment services. There [has been] a fair bit of co-operation and consolidation over the years on those sort of functions,” he said.

However, despite the split, Hart said that the offices will continue to work together and that there are no hard feelings between the two.

“Obviously we respect Sydney’s right to make their own choices and we are each independent offices, so people are entitled to do so,” Hart said. “I can assure you, there’s no bad blood, no animosity and it really is business as usual. I don’t see any practical day-to-day difference. It’s purely a question of whether the parties collectively saw full financial integration as the end position. Clearly Sydney did not.”

McArthur concurred that the offices would continue to work together and that their withdrawal won’t affect business from their clients’ point of view.

“The end result is that we’ve got relationships and clients in common that we provide services to nationally, particularly in property and banking, so [we’ll] make sure we continue to service those clients and do that well,” he said.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Dibbs splits as Sydney office walks
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
Oct 19 2017
‘Ego status’ compelled ex-lawyer to defraud $2.97m, court told
Debarred lawyer John Gordon Bradfield told an NSW District Court that he was driven by “ego status...
Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA), Queensland’s new industrial manslaughter legislation,
Oct 19 2017
ALA welcomes ‘tough’ Qld manslaughter laws
The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has welcomed Queensland’s new industrial manslaughter legisl...
Legal podcasts, tune in, microphone
Oct 19 2017
Legal podcasts you have to tune in to right now
The rise of the internet has hailed in a new dawn for storytelling. Here’s our top pick of podcast...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...