DPP lures Fiona Low back from east

THE Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is poised to coax one of Australia’s most senior corporate lawyers back to WA with the appointment of Fiona Low as director of legal services.

Ms Low was senior counsel at Westpac, managing a substantial team of lawyers at the national bank, until July last year when she left to have a baby.

Subject to government procedures that allow other applicants time to raise any issues they have with the appointment process, the Sydney-based lawyer will return to Perth to take up the newly created $265,000-a-year position.

Director of Public Prosecutions Robert Cock said that Ms Low would report directly to him, taking on a role very much like that of a practice manager in a law firm.

He said such a position had become necessary as the office had grown and new technology was adopted.

Mr Cock said his current deputy, Lloyd Rayney, had been in an acting position of assistant principal crown prosecutor. He said that position would not be abolished but would become vacant upon the new appointment.

“That (position) is a relic of the old structure,” he said.

Mr Cock said Mr Rayney’s future role would be developed in consultation with Ms Low when she arrived.

The position that Ms Low will take up is the result of an external review by Deacons Consultants.

“We need a general manager, a practice manager, a director of legal services to oversee legal work,” Mr Cock said.

“In a modern environment with a lot of IT and a larger workforce we need a more managerial and strategic focus.”

Before joining Westpac, where Australian Securities and Investments Commission records show she was company secretary of numerous bank-related companies from 1996 to last year, Ms Low had a varied career in legally related work.

She had been company secretary and general counsel at the State Superannuation Corporation of NSW for about two years after leaving the then Australian Securities Commission in 1995 where she spent three years as regional general counsel.

Ms Low has also worked in private law firms Clayton Utz and Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

“In my view she has a tremendous mix of public sector and private sector legal management,” Mr Cock said.

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