17/01/2017 - 14:46

Sparke Helmore confirms WA move

17/01/2017 - 14:46

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Sparke Helmore Lawyers will become the 12th largest law firm in Western Australia, according to the BNiQ Seach Engine, after announcing today it has finalised merger plans with local practice Jarman McKenna.

Sparke Helmore confirms WA move
Belinda Michalk and Piet Jarman will be merging their Perth teams. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Sparke Helmore Lawyers will become the 12th largest law firm in Western Australia, according to the BNiQ Seach Engine, after announcing today it has finalised merger plans with local practice Jarman McKenna.

The merged firm, which will trade as Sparke Helmore Lawyers from March 1, will have 10 partners and 53 legal staff in WA.

That puts it below DLA Piper but ahead of HHG Legal Group and Squire Patton Boggs on the listing of WA law firms in the BNIQ Search Engine.

Most of the partners and staff will come from Jarman McKenna, which has grown to become one of WA’s biggest independent law firms since being established in 2003.

In contrast, Sparke Helmore has always had a modest presence in Perth despite having an office here for more than a decade.

Its Perth office has just two partners and is led by Belinda Michalk.

Today's announcement comes four months after the two firms disclosed they were in merger discussions.

It also comes after the two firms have lost a total of five partners over the past 15 months.

In late 2015, insurance specialists Anton Vucak left Jarman McKenna and Joel Sheldrick left Sparke Helmore to open the Perth office of Melbourne-based firm Hall & Wilcox.

In mid 2016, Paul Kordic and Hugh Cahill left Jarman McKenna to join Cullen McLeod.

Most recently, Jarman McKenna co-founder David McKenna moved to Mills Oakley after one of his major clients raised conflict concerns if he joined Sparke Helmore.

Sparke Helmore national managing partner Phillip Salem said the merger was a critical step in enhancing the legal services and expertise the firm provides to its insurance clients across Australia.

He said Sparke Helmore was awarded insurance specialist law firm of the year at the Australasian Law Awards last year and the merger would complement its market position.

“The partners and lawyers at Jarman McKenna have an outstanding reputation in Perth and I’m delighted they have decided to join our firm,” Mr Salem said.

Jarman McKenna founding partner Piet Jarman said clients increasingly required national insurance support.

“We are always focused on our clients’ needs, so we’ve spent a lot of time looking for the right national firm to merge with,” he said.

“Sparke Helmore is the perfect fit for our clients and our team, and we’re looking forward to becoming part of a leading Australian law firm,”

Nationally, Sparke Helmore has 650 people across eight offices.

 

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