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Small is better for Hardy and Bowen

CLAYTON Utz partner of 21 years, Michael Hardy, will farewell the firm this week to start a new boutique practice, Hardy Bowen, with long-time colleague Michael Bowen.

Mr Hardy said the decision to leave Clayton Utz after 21 years was made over several months.

“We thought there was an opportunity for a smaller firm to make a difference ... we can be in control and choose the clients we want to work for,” Mr Hardy said.

“We are able to focus on the areas where we have significant expertise. Michael has significant corporate commercial experience and I do a lot of commercial work with planning and the environment.

“It’s a growing area and I’d like to do that in a wider capacity, including land development and property development.”

Mr Bowen said the practice would aim to tailor a service to WA businesses that did not fit the big corporate mould.

“The market we are aiming for is giving the same service that a big firm provides to its big clients,” he said.

“People want to deal with the partners and principals. I think legal services are still very much about individuals and people want the partners they are dealing with to understand their business.

“Major corporate clients need the big firms to act for them; I’m not sure that is the same for smaller and medium businesses.”

Mr Bowen left Clayton Utz about 12 months ago and said his experience was in corporations law.

“I do a lot of mergers and acquisitions and floats and small takeovers. It’s the stuff that every company does, even the small and medium companies still have to put in the applications,” Mr Bowen said.

While the firm initially will bring on some expertise to cover the casework, the pair is not looking to grow the firm into the ranks of the big boys.

“We’re not looking to grow too big … it defeats the purpose,” Mr Hardy said.

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