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End of the Misso era as Slaters steps in

End of the Misso era as Slaters steps in

Trilby Misso has reached the end of an era, with the last member of the Misso family retiring out of the firm following its acquisition by Slater & Gordon. Hilton Misso, a director of Trilby…

Trilby Misso has reached the end of an era, with the last member of the Misso family retiring out of the firm following its acquisition by Slater & Gordon.

Hilton Misso, a director of Trilby Misso and son of the late Trilby Misso - the firm's founder - told Lawyers Weekly that with the $57 million purchase completed last Friday (13 August) it was time for him to move on.

"I've accepted the fact that I'm not getting any younger and the success and magnitude of the practice was such that we couldn't sell it down to the junior partners," he said.

Misso has retired after 46 years with the firm, having commenced his career there after his father developed the practice in 1956 - following the family's migration to Australia from Sri Lanka.

The Slater & Gordon acquisition of Trilby Misso has been on the cards for some time, with Misso revealing that the firm established a committee a number of years ago in order to determine an exit strategy for the firm's directors.

Such options included a serious proposal to float the firm on the Australian Stock Exchange - until the global financial crisis.

"When the GFC hit it was a no brainer that we could not list and so we therefore deferred the listing for three to five years. Of course in the meantime, Slater & Gordon made that approach for us," said Misso.

"Given all things, we figured that this [the Slater & Gordon acquisition] represented a better opportunity for Trilby Misso to continue growing and to continue its true vision and objectives."

While Misso's departure represents an end of direct ties to the firm's heritage, Misso said the Slater & Gordon culture lines up with that of Trilby Misso and that staff are optimistic about their future.

"There's been some emotion about the fact that the founding shareholders have moved on but they accept that that's reality," said Misso.

"At the same time they indentify the great opportunity for the firm to grow and to develop its true vision."

Misso said that his father, who passed away last year, was very much a true lawyer who "served the people" and the firm's growth can be put down to his father's commitment to assist people regardless of their financial situation, race or creed.

"When I started in 1964, the firm comprised Dad, one full-time and one part-time secretary," said Misso.

"Now, the firm has nearly 160 staff and one of the best and most recognised profiles in the Australian legal community."

Angela Priestley

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