Dibbs’ demise: Mid-tier confirms it will soon cease to exist

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Dibbs’ demise: Mid-tier confirms it will soon cease to exist

white puzzle pieces on red table mid tier law firm closing shop dibbsbarker joining dentons

After a 130-year history serving the Australian legal market, DibbsBarker has confirmed it will be closing up shop, following this morning’s revelation that 18 of its partners will be joining Dentons.

A spokesperson for DibbsBarker has confirmed that the long-standing mid-tier firm will not be operating beyond 30 April 2018. This coincides with this morning’s news that global heavyweight Dentons will be acquiring 18 partners and other staff, effective 1 May.

“The DibbsBarker partners who are not joining Dentons will be either retiring or pursuing other opportunities elsewhere,” the spokesperson told Lawyers Weekly.

“The client, practice and cultural synergies that exist between the two firms are significant, and the agreement reached with Dentons provides a wonderful opportunity for those joining to be part of a leading global firm where they can leverage the scale available to deliver increasingly innovative, cost-effective and market-leading solutions for clients.

“We thank all of our clients for their support of DibbsBarker over many years. We also thank our staff for each and every contribution they have made to our firm’s success during its long history.”

As of the end of next week, there will be 25 partners at DibbsBarker – 24 practising with one managing partner, Steven Purcell.


A spokesperson for the firm reiterated that “17 of those 24 practising partners are joining Dentons in partner roles, and one is joining Dentons in a director role”.

Lawyers Weekly can confirm that two of those remaining eight partners  Jane Wild and Andrew Flannery – will be headed to HWL Ebsworth. The pair will be joined by a team of approximately 13 legal and support staff.

The destination of the remaining six partners was unknown at the time this article went live, however market observers predicted that Piper Alderman and Gadens Melbourne could be the firms that are on the remaining staffs’ radar.

Lawyers Weekly approached Piper Alderman and Gadens for comment on possible partner acquisitions. 

“We can confirm that we are not taking on any partners or staff as a result of the Dibbs/Dentons merger, a spokesperson from Piper Alderman said.

Gadens has not yet provided a response.


Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan is the deputy head of editorial at Momentum Media and editor of its legal publication, Lawyers Weekly. 

She graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism).

Email Emma on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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