17/02/2004 - 21:00

KPMG legal partners move on to new digs

17/02/2004 - 21:00

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THE four WA partners of KPMG Legal are being dispersed across Perth’s legal fraternity as a result of the planned closure of the practice.

KPMG legal partners move on to new digs

THE four WA partners of KPMG Legal are being dispersed across Perth’s legal fraternity as a result of the planned closure of the practice.

Property partner Ted Sharp is heading back to his old stamping ground at Freehills while corporate partner John Chandler recently moved to Deacons.

Andre Sweidan, who was the founding partner of KPMG Legal in Perth, is believed to be planning a new firm that will continue to be affiliated with KPMG.

The fourth partner is barrister Clive Raymond.

Freehills has announced that Mr Sharp would be joining its projects team in Perth, along with Dudley Stow.

Mr Stow, originally from Perth, is returning after more than three years in the projects group at Freehills’ Melbourne office.

Mr Sharp spent 20 years working with Freehills and its predecessor, Parker & Parker, before joining KPMG Legal in July 2002. He is rejoining Freehills as a consultant.

The winding down of KPMG Legal is part of an international move by accounting group KPMG.

“There was a global directive that we will not offer legal services,” said Steve Scudamore, chairman of partners of KPMG in Western Australia.

“That is the only reason we are winding down that practice.

“We have a very talented group of people and it is disappointing.”

He said KPMG was still working on the transition for the legal practice’s 14 staff and was unable to comment on individuals.

The winding down of KPMG Legal has been linked to the Sarbannes-Oxley legislation in the US.

The legislation, introduced in response to corporate scandals such as Enron, was designed to ensure the independence of accounting firms’ audit function.

Of the four big accounting firms, KPMG was the only one to have a permanent legal practice in Perth.

Mr Sweidan had 30 years’ experience as a lawyer in Australia and South Africa when he joined the firm in July 1998.

Mr Chandler joined in July 2000, while Messrs Raymond and Sharp joined in mid 2002.

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