SPARKE HELMORE has lost the founding member of its banking and finance practice to mid-tier competitor Middletons. The leading partner left the door swinging, with several senior members of the team and support staff following him out of the firm.
National law firm Sparke Helmore has confirmed the resignation of Sydney-based partner Ben Burney, with “immediate effect”. So immediate in fact, his name has already been erased from the firm’s website directory.
Practitioners exiting the firm along with Burney include senior associates Adam Howell and Adam Fuller, lawyer Maggie McGushin and paralegal Kylie Hayton.
In another blow for Sparke, lawyer Anthony Tesvic,is also departing the firm for Blake Dawson.
In a statement released by the firm today, John Davis, national managing partner, said: “This development is unfortunate but it in no way distracts from the firm’s strategic objective to grow our commercial practice.
“Since joining the firm in 2005 [Burney] has made a terrific contribution and we wish him and his team all the best for the future.”
Davis added that clients affected by these developments are being advised of the situation, with planning for the ongoing management of relevant files already underway.
According to the statement, the formal timing of the five departures is yet to be agreed upon. The firm would not provide any further comment about the walk out of the banking and finance group.
Middletons declined to make an official comment, but a spokesperson did confirm that some Sparke Helmore staff would be moving across in the near future.
See www.lawyersweekly.com.au for further updates.