Thomson Playford Cutlers announces Melbourne Merger

29 January 2009


Commercial law firm Thomson Playford Cutlers is expanding its national presence by merging with Dibbs Abbott Stillman in Melbourne.

The merger – to be effective from March 1, 2009 – creates a law firm with a strong presence in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide of more than 340 staff including 47 partners.

Thomson Playford Cutlers Chief Executive Brett Goodridge said the merger was “client-driven” and in line with the firm’s national growth strategy.

“Thomson Playford Cutlers has been servicing Victorian clients for some time on a fly-in, fly-out basis, but this merger with Dibbs Abbott Stillman Melbourne gives us a permanent presence in what is obviously a key market for corporate legal services,” Mr Goodridge said.

“We have been committed to the development of a national brand and this merger now completes our Sydney-Melbourne-Adelaide triangle. “

“It provides us with an outstanding team of lawyers to service and grow our client base and to win even more work from our existing clients who have operations in Melbourne.“

“As our clients continue to focus upon their businesses and become increasingly cost conscious, the merger in Melbourne is a timely and strong reinforcement of our value proposition. As a leading mid-tier commercial law firm, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide outstanding technical expertise, exceptional service delivery and direct access to partners in a cost effective way.”


Founded more than 120 years ago and with offices in Adelaide and Sydney, Thomson Playford Cutlers specialises in its core practice areas of corporate, litigation & dispute resolution, environment & planning, property & development, health and financial services.

Dibbs Abbott Stillman’s Melbourne office has complementary expertise in similar practice areas. It is part of the former national federation of DAS offices.

As part of the merger, 12 partners, 50 lawyers and associated support staff will be joining Thomson Playford Cutlers working from and based in Bourke Street, Melbourne.

The new entity will remain known as Thomson Playford Cutlers.

The merger follows the announcement in July last year of Thomson Playford’s merger with Sydney-based firm Cutler Hughes & Harris.

“We have found mergers with like-minded law firms to be an excellent growth strategy for our firm, our clients and our staff,” Mr Goodridge said.

“Building our presence in Melbourne has been on the agenda for some time but we wanted to make sure we did it right and with the right partner.

“We wanted it to be a tight cultural fit just as much as making commercial and financial sense.”

Dibbs Abbott Stillman Melbourne Chief Executive Officer David King said the merger created a national pool of technically outstanding lawyers at the disposal of the firm’s clients.

“With the pending dissolution of the Dibbs Abbott Stillman national federation, the opportunity to team with Thomson Playford Cutlers was considered as perfect timing,” Mr King said.

“We wanted to partner with a firm that had a clear national alignment and mandate for strategic growth.

“This merger allows us to continue to compete on a national level.

“Our practices are extremely complementary while both firms share a commitment to high quality legal work, personalised service and maintaining a dynamic office culture.

“This merger also provides excellent opportunities for cross-selling of services and to expand practices across jurisdictions for the benefit of our clients and staff.”