Remaining DibbsBarker partners reveal next move

Remaining DibbsBarker partners reveal next move

23 March 2018 By Melissa Coade

Rival national firms are celebrating the benefit of a recent talent hiring coup, following news that DibbsBarker will cease to exist by 30 April when a major chunk of its partners move across to Dentons.

Legal recruiters and major firms continue to court the left-over talent in the DibbsBarker family, which will cease to exist by the end of April this year.

At last count, three DibbsBarker partners from Sydney and Brisbane were still deciding their fate.

Employment law specialist Fay Calderone was this morning tipped to join mid-tier law firm Hall & Wilcox.


Ms Calderone is a leading employment lawyer who joined Dibbs in 2015. Within a year of joining the firm, she was promoted as commercial group leader. Dibbs’ commercial group is the firm’s largest team, encompassing M&A, people and workplace practices.

The Dibbs partner will commence with the rival employment practice in Sydney on 3 April, alongside senior associate Clare Kerley.

Commenting on her soon-to-be new firm, Ms Calderone said she was thrilled to be joining a “strong national employment practice” that had a commitment to the growth of greater western Sydney.

“The firm’s purpose of enabling people, clients and communities to thrive by practicing Smarter Law [strategically] aligns with our approach to servicing clients and provides an exciting platform to deliver solutions to help them achieve their objectives,” Ms Calderone said.

The Dibbs duo were welcomed by Hall & Wilcox managing partner Tony Macvean, who described them as being the right cultural fit for his firm.   


“Fay and Clare’s appointments further enhances the national presence of our employment practice,” Mr Macvean said.

“[Their] track record also complements other growth areas for the firm including finance, insurance and the public sector.”

Throughout her 16 years in practice, Ms Calderone has advised on workplace issues including discrimination, bullying, harassment, misconduct investigations, performance management, restraints litigation, enterprise agreements and industrial disputes. She has represented clients in the professional services, insurance, entertainment, sport, aged care and local councils.

Ten minutes before noon, Piper Alderman confirmed that it had scooped up Melbourne-based partner Joanne Hardwick (pictured).

Ms Hardwick, who has more than 15 years’ experience as a litigation, insolvency and reconstruction lawyer, said that she had been watching Piper Alderman's growth "from afar and admiring its growth".

She cited the full-service offering that the national firm provided the Melbourne market as an opportunity to grow her practice and better service client needs.

“Piper Alderman has been on my radar for the last 12 months. The firm’s recent merger with Norton Gledhill has boosted its corporate credentials in Melbourne making it an attractive option,” Ms Hardwick said. 

“I’m excited to be joining the firm and being part of a leading Victorian and national insolvency and reconstruction law team.

“My clients and referrers are extremely supportive of the move and will benefit from the depth of expertise and resources which Piper Alderman provides.”

Dibbs partner Brad Allen's plans to relocate firms to Gadens' Sydney office have also been reported. 

The news that 18 from the DibbsBarker partnership would join global firm Dentons, boosting the US-headquarted firm’s financial services, real estate and corporate practices, left everybody wondering what would happen for the remainder of the 25-strong partnership who would not relocate to Dentons.

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

Of the 18 partners who have been revealed to be part of the bloc acquired by Dentons, only Scott Guthrie, Emma Hodgman, Peter Luke, John Reen, Matthew Rollason and John Stragalinos have been named. Lawyers Weekly also understand that Melbourne banking and finance lawyer Jason Morris will come across with them to Dentons. 

Some partners who were not part of the mid-tier partner acquisition have revealed their plans to retire, specifically Melbourne real estate and construction lawyer Bill Burrough.

This leaves the destination of another three Dibbs partners (two in Sydney and one in Brisbane) up in the air.


Remaining DibbsBarker partners reveal next move
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