Union chases legal expertise

THE State School Teachers’ Union of WA has opted for new legal representation, following a tender process that began late last year.

The union’s $500,000-plus annual account is understood to have gone to national law firm Slater & Gordon, after the SSTUWA executive interviewed four competing firms.

Expertise is believed to have been one of the critical considerations in the selection process, during which some firms under consideration lost crucial practitioners.

Former SSTUWA legal provider WA firm Dwyer Durack is believed to have made some personnel redundant recently. It lost industrial relations specialist Allan Drake-Brockman early in 2001.

Mr Drake-Brockman, now a Gadens Lawyers partner and head of the firm’s national workplace relations group, is believed to have previously had responsibility for the SSTUWA account at Dwyer Durack.

Dwyer Durack lost six partners last year when they moved to set up a separate Gadens office in Perth.

Similar movement has continued this year among other law firms with offices in WA.

Mallesons Stephen Jaques is believed to have lost five senior associates from its Perth office this year and Clayton Utz, which farewelled long-time partner Michael Hardy recently, will lose property partner Peter Young in October.

Mr Hardy left to set up boutique firm Hardy Bowen with former Clayton Utz partner Michael Bowen, and although not yet considered a trend in Perth, two of those who left Mallesons Stephen Jaques – Stephen Stockwell and Richard Maltman – also set up much smaller practices, but separately.

Mr Maltman said his move afforded him the opportunity to be more independent, and to offer better value within closer relationships with clients, while Mr Young said he was looking to combine his legal and property industry experience with funds management.

Susan Bower

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