Freehills has lost one of its most prominent partners, with a 17-year veteran of the firm taking up a position with KPMG.
Matthew Stutsel, a partner in the firm's fund management team, said he was leaving Freehills on good terms and simply could not turn down KPMG's offer.
"Although I had a wonderful time for 17 years at Freehills, I couldn't refuse the opportunity and challenge to be the national head of the state tax team at KPMG," he said.
"As well as being able to work closely with the corporate tax team here, we help the advisory business in planning and executing transactions and provide specialist support to the audit teams, so there is a large degree of interaction and team work."
Stutsel said the plan is to grow and integrate his new team both nationally and globally, with a focus on local property, infrastructure and financial services, global investors and the growing market for Islamic finance.
While Stutsel has long been recognised as one of the country's top specialist stamp duty lawyers, his recent involvement in the fight against depression in the law has also earned him the respect of his peers.
Last year, Stutsel featured in a short film produced by the Depression and Anxiety Working Group as part of the [email protected] initiative. In the film, he spoke candidly about his battle with depression which had led him to attempt to take his own life.
Speaking to Lawyers Weekly at the time, Stutsel said he wanted to speak out in order to help those who are suffering as he did.
"Knowing how difficult it was for me to speak about it as I was suffering it, and having a couple of friends who are currently suffering from depression, made me want to help," he said.
"I am really hoping that I can help someone before they get to the stage that I got to, and certainly before they get to the stage where they do something they can't turn back on. That's the difference I'd really like to make."
Stutsel told Lawyers Weekly he will continue to work on the [email protected] project in the future.