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Legal sector rationalizes

THE Western Australian legal fraternity has undergone further consolidation with a number of recent mergers.

McAuliffe Williams & Partners has merged with the local Dibbs Barker Gosling office and will officially begin operations as part of Dibbs Barker Gosling in the New Year. Under the new structure, Dibbs Barker Gosling Perth partner Brett Ablong will join the McAuliffe Williams & Partners office.

The merger swells Dibbs Barker Gosling’s stable of partners to 60 and positions a local firm into a national law practice that turns over $60 million a year.

McAuliffe Williams & Partners was established in 1989, and founder Mark McAuliffe said the merger would enable the firm to build up its national client base and focus on commercial law.

He said the additional resources the merger provided would allow the firm to greatly enhance its capabilities to provide services to larger national clients.

“We expect to have steady growth over the next couple of years,” Mr McAuliffe said. “We wish to become a major player in the Perth market.”

He said there were no plans to incorporate the national law firm, despite the recent passing of WA legislation giving all law firms the option to convert a partnership to a company structure.

Plaintive law firms Friedman Lurie Singh WA Lawyers and D’Angelo & Partners Compensation Lawyers have also recently merged, creating WA’s largest compensation, family law, general/commercial law practice.

Friedman Lurie Singh & D’Angelo partner Sukwant Singh said the merger of the two firms allowed the firm to move into a position of strength. The  firm now has a base of 22 lawyers and 63 staff.

“The idea was to create a large plaintive law firm and have a quality bast to take on the competition,” he told WA Business News.

The biggest growth area in the law industry was business advice, Mr Singh said, and the firm would increase its focus on providing business development advice to ‘mum and dad’ style clients.

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