National law firm Thomson Geer has poached one of Perth’s top corporate teams, with Michael Bowen and 10 colleagues moving to a new home for the second time in five years.
The two firms are still working out the exact timing.
Thomson Geer entered the Western Australian market only 14 months ago by acquiring LSV Borrello, which was focused on property and litigation.
It has recruited Messrs Bowen, Gibson and Wilshaw five years after DLA Piper absorbed their previous firm, Perth-based Hardy Bowen.
This trio has helped DLA Piper become one of the most successful corporate law firms in Perth, according to Business News’ Data & Insights.
Over the past 12 months, DLA’s Perth office has advised on 13 M&A transactions worth $2.4 billion and 21 equity capital markets (ECM) deals worth $1.4 billion.
The new recruits will substantially increase the size of Thomson Geer’s WA operation, which currently has nine partners and 23 legal professionals.
Chief executive partner Adrian Tembel said corporate law was a critical part of the firm’s national practice and was always part of his plan for WA.
“From the minute we acquired LSV, I was on the lookout for a corporate team that would fit our style,” he told Business News.
Mr Tembel said he expected the change would energise Mr Bowen, who is aged in his mid 60s.
“It’s not just Michael, he has a terrific team.
“We get the experience of Michael and some younger, dynamic lawyers wanting to take the next step in their careers.”
Asked about the corporate team's switch from a global law firm to an Australian firm, Mr Tembel said Thomson Geer's independent status meant it secured a lot of work from international law firms seeking local representation.
Thomson Geer has leased a half floor in Exchange Tower to support its expanded operation, adding to the full floor it already leases.
Nationally, Thomson Geer has 116 partners in five offices.
It has recently negotiated two other expansion moves, acquiring the whole of Dentons’ Brisbane office and recruiting the 8-strong media team from Mcpherson Kelley in Brisbane.
DLA Piper has a large operation in WA, with 13 partners and 59 legal professionals currently.
Managing partner Australia Amber Matthews said that as a global, full service law firm, DLA Piper would utilise its full bench of subject area experts in Australia, and other jurisdictions as required, to support its Western Australian clients.
“Perth remains a key market for DLA Piper and we will continue to grow our presence there, particularly in the energy and natural resources sector,” Ms Matthews said in a statement.
“Over the past 15 months we have appointed two partners in Perth and our corporate practice across Australia has grown with the addition of six new partners and 15 fee earners.