Global top-40 firm Ashurst is scaling back its Adelaide office headcount as its only Adelaide-based partner and office head Tanya Denning relocates to Melbourne to lead its energy practice.
Ashurst has maintained that the Adelaide office is not closing despite the absence of a partner. Two of the teams’ senior associates will remain at the office and continue to run operations, while Denning will retain office oversight supported by other Ashurst partners. Five staff members will be affected by the decision and have been offered relocation opportunities to other national offices.
The decision to downsize came as a response to current and anticipated levels of business activity in the South Australian market, the firm confirmed.
‘Our ability to service our South Australian clients will not be impacted,’ a spokesperson at the firm said. ‘The firm has the flexibility to increase legal resourcing quickly, as demand requires.’
Ashurst has six offices across Australia in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Adelaide, the latter being one of the smaller bases housing just eight members of staff before the firm decided to scale back.
Denning focuses on corporate and commercial law, specialising in energy and resources projects, corporate transactional work and oil and gas and resources law. She joined legacy firm Blake Dawson in 1999 and became a partner in 2011. Last year she advised uranium mining company, Russian state-owned JSC Atomredmetzoloto (ARMZ), on its A$2.7bn acquisition of Uranium One.
Earlier this month, Ashurst unveiled its first post-merger financial results boasting revenues of £586m and a profit per equity partner of £801,000. The firm fully merged with Blake Dawson last November, when the big six Australian firm rebranded as Ashurst Australia.
In April this year, 27% of the associates (four out of a total of 15) were made up in Australia as part of the firm’s annual round of partner promotions.