Mass partner exodus rumoured at newly merged firm

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Less than half a year after the Dentons merger with Gadens, a large group of partners who went to the global law firm are reportedly ready to up and leave.

The Australian Financial Review says that a group of 10 to 12 partners are preparing to leave Dentons’ Sydney office, according to an unnamed source. The partners are apparently not happy with Dentons’ “our way or the highway” approach.

The global giant denies that a large group of partners is leaving, with a spokesperson categorically saying that the rumours are not true.

Dentons and Gadens completed their merger in December, splitting the Australian firm. The legacy firm’s Sydney, Perth, and Papua New Guinea offices integrated into the world’s largest law firm by lawyer headcount. The Adelaide and Brisbane offices retained their brand and agreed to an association with Dentons, while the Melbourne office remained as a standalone business.

The exodus is not without precedent in the Australian legal space. Just last September, 10 Herbert Smith Freehills partners left the firm en masse and moved to Wall Street giant White & Case. The move resulted in a lawsuit, which has just recently been settled.

The AFR said that the Dentons partners could head back to Gadens. However, the “historically rough relations” between the Sydney and Melbourne offices of the legacy firm could mean the partners are more likely to choose the Brisbane office, if they do indeed return to their old firm.

Related stories:
White & Case appoints 10 senior lawyers as it opens in Sydney
HSF sues eight partners who launched White & Case Australia

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