LEADING national law firm, Freehills, has appointed Jason Ricketts as its new Perth managing partner, hitting the starter’s gun on the annual round of pre-June 30 legal appointments. In a marked change from the position held by his predecessor, John Atkins, Mr Ricketts will perform the role on a part-time basis and remain an active partner in Freehills’ banking and projects group. While he will step down from leading the banking and projects group in Perth, he remains on the firm’s national board. Mr Ricketts described the changes as an evolution of the role. Freehills also announced two new partners, Melanie Cave, who practises in the area of infrastructure projects particularly water and waste water, and Jason Little, who works in mining resources. Mr Ricketts replaces John Atkins who will be stepping down to take on a part-time role as ANZ’s WA chairman. The Freehills changes were preceded in the professional sector by RSM Bird Cameron’s appointment of Con Abbott as chief operating officer to head up the national second tier firm’s internal accounting, training, marketing and human resources functions. RSM has also appointed Paul Joseph as CIO, providing significantly more executive support to chairman Kim Hutchison and his board.