Jonathon Leek will begin work with Deloitte’s Perth legal practice as a partner on 1 September.
Mr Leek has previously worked as a partner with Gilbert + Tobin and Corrs Chambers Westgarth in Sydney and Perth for 14 years. After joining the bar, Mr Leek has practised from Francis Burt Chambers since 2014.
According to Deloitte, Mr Leek’s appointment will enable the Perth office to represent its clients across “the full dispute life cycle” by now offering court representation.
Jonathan Schneider, Deloitte’s Perth tax leader, said: “We strive to be known as one of the leaders in our field and want to bring the best people to our practice. As such, we’re delighted to welcome Jonathon to the firm. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience in obtaining tax rulings, managing tax audits and risk reviews, appealing to courts and tribunals and negotiating settlements, including by mediation.
“In an increasingly global and complex marketplace, organisations’ need for advice and support from tax legal advisors has never been greater. As we continue to grow our Deloitte Lawyers offering, we now have the ability to assist our clients in the full dispute life cycle, including representing them in court.”
Deloitte’s move is the latest in a string of aggressive appointments, as the big four firms continue their aggressive assault on the legal services market.
James Fabijancic, national leader of Deloitte Lawyers, indicated there will be more targeted appointments over coming months, stating: “Combined with the backing of the Deloitte Legal brand globally and a network of 1,600 legal professionals across 70 countries, Deloitte Lawyers heads towards 2020 with a goal to grow significantly and be a leader in tax dispute resolution.”
KPMG has bolstered its own tax controversy practice in Brisbane with the appointment of Sarah Blacklock from law firm McCullough Robertson.
Late in 2015, PwC Australia and Asia Pacific legal services leader Tony O’Malley told AccountantsDaily that the firm had clear aspirations to establish itself as a top 20 international law firm. PwC’s legal growth strategy, implemented over the past 18 months, is designed to build a high-quality legal team of more than 100 lawyers, with 20 to 25 partners.
Conversely, former Deloitte CEO Giam Swiegers, current CEO of engineering firm Aurecon, told AccountantsDaily's sister publication Lawyers Weekly in early 2016 that although the big four themselves are the masters of expanding their footprint and service offerings, law firms may soon follow suit and expand into the taxation space.