DWF closes three Australia offices

The firm will maintain only its Brisbane branch and Connected Services ops

DWF closes three Australia offices

DWF has announced its decision to trim down its operations in Australia, cutting three of its offices in the country.

“These changes will enable a leaner Australian business to focus on institutional clients and core sectors, such as insurance, which have a stronger strategic fit for the group and offer the best opportunity for sustainable and profitable growth, by integrating other products and services provided by Mindcrest and Connected Services,” the firm said in a media release on Monday.

This follows DWF’s decision to shut its doors in Brussels and Singapore last year.

Australia managing director Damien van Brunschot will remain at the helm of DWF Australia’s operations. However, the cutting of the offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle is expected to cost about 85 employees their jobs and result in the departure of 14 principal lawyers, subject to the findings of a formal consultation.

“It is never easy making decisions like this, but rationalising our Australian operations is about focusing our investment resources on areas aligned to group strategy and priority sectors and clients, something that we have done very successfully in Dubai and elsewhere. I am confident that we will continue to grow our global operations in the future,” CEO Sir Nigel Knowles said.

The sole DWF office in Australia will be located in Brisbane.

The firm said that the expected loss for FY2021 as incurred by the Australian operations is estimated to be in the £3-4m range. Thus, the trimming of the operations is anticipated to strengthen DWF’s earnings.

“As we approach our FY21 year end in April, we remain confident in our performance and have seen strong activity levels in our third quarter ending in January, and are enjoying a busy start to our fourth quarter. We therefore continue to view the future with confidence,” Knowles said.

He said that the firm remained committed to the Australia market, despite the closures.

“Whilst we will part company with valued friends and colleagues in some locations, we retain a strong and respected team in Brisbane, with a renewed emphasis on our insurance practice,” Knowles said. “We also retain Connected Services in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and will continue to bring our Mindcrest offering to this market. We remain committed to the Australian market, and wish our departing colleagues well as they transition their practices.”

Van Brunschot is set to join the DWF Group executive board on 1 May.

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