Three lawyers from DLA Piper Canberra have left to establish a new legal practice focusing on the government sector.
Proximity Legal in Canberra is the brainchild of former DLA Piper senior associate Sean King, and is designed to provide government sector legal services through a low overhead secondment model.
King is the director of the firm, which was established in September, along with former DLA senior associate James Dunn.
Dunn told Lawyers Weekly that he and King left DLA purely because they wanted to set up this new practice. "We saw a niche for low cost secondment services to government sector clients," he said.
The firm claims to be operating on a similar model to US and UK firms which employ lawyers on a secondment model to work in-house with in-house legal teams.
"Because you don't have the large premises and expensive marketing and IT, the cost can be kept low by working on the client premises," said Dunn, adding that the firm has adopted a "no increase to head count" and fixed-fee model.
Adam Sumbak, whose practice focused primarily on dispute resolution and litigation, also left DLA to help establish Proximity.
King's practice focuses on contracting, intellectual property, information technology, and government advice. He has also directed Earlybird Marketing and Events since 2007.
Dunn's main areas of practice are commercial law and government contracting. He has particular expertise in advising on Commonwealth technology procurement, intellectual property and software licensing and has advised various government Departments.
Dunn said the firm has no immediate plans to expand outside Canberra.
DLA Piper's Canberra office has taken a hit in recent times, with HWL Ebsworth poaching Gary Rumble and Dennis Pearce last month. The firm had already poached six DLA Piper partners in August, including Melanie McKean and Lex Holcombe.