The reports say MinterEllison chief executive Annette Kimmitt has been forced out of the firm over the backlash from a senior partner’s decision to advise Attorney-General Christian Porter.

Mr Bartlett wasnt aware of the email until it landed in the inboxes of the more than 2000 staff and partners it was sent to, some of the firms lawyers have said. He responded to the email on the same day saying: I would have thought that a majority of our partners would believe that everyone is entitled to a presumption of innocence and legal representation.
The firms media and communications team, as well as Ms Kimmitt and Mr Bartlett, have refused to comment publicly about the burgeoning crises, but it has not prevented a series of leaks to the media about its internal ructions.
On Wednesday, The Age reported Mr Bartlett had been thanked by the Prime Ministers office for his assistance to the Attorney-General before the controversy erupted last week.
The veteran lawyer, who has served on the firms board for more than two decades, provides legal advice to media companies, including The Age and TheSydney Morning Herald, in order to protect them from defamation. He also advises corporate and government clients on reputational issues, and is known for his negotiation and mediation skills.
The federal government and Liberal Party have confirmed they will not pay the costs for defamation cases. Lawyers for Senator Reynolds are still negotiating with representatives of Ms Higgins over a legal resolution relating to the lying cow reports.
By convention, the Commonwealth does not pay for defamation proceedings involving MPs, a senior government source familiar with defamation matters said. The Liberal Party has confirmed it is not paying legal costs for either of the ministers.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
Some Coalition MPs, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, are concerned one of the few senior women in the government is bearing the brunt of the criticism over the handling of Ms Higgins case. While other ministers and key government figures also knew about the rape allegations before the Prime Minister was told, Senator Reynolds has come under the most scrutiny.
The Defence Minister is on medical leave until Easter due to a pre-existing heart condition. Her remarks were made to staff in her ministerial office when news broke about Ms Higgins allegation that she was raped by a fellow staffer in Senator Reynolds office in March 2019.
Senator Reynolds comment accused Ms Higgins of lying about how her complaint was handled, not of lying about the rape.
Ms Higgins asked her lawyer, Rebekah Giles of Company Giles, to demand an immediate and unequivocal public withdrawal of the comments and an apology for the hurt and distress caused.
The ministers spokeswoman said the discussions between lawyers were ongoing and confidential, and the minister was paying all her own costs.
In a letter to Senator Reynolds, Ms Giles said the request constituted a concerns notice under defamation law to bring further action over the lying cow statement if necessary. Ms Higgins did not confirm whether she was seeking a defamation payout.
The day after receiving the letter, Senator Reynolds issued a statement saying she was deeply sorry for these remarks and for any hurt and distress they have caused. She noted any resolution of the matter would include an apology.
Mr Porter is also on medical leave to deal with his mental health after he revealed he was the cabinet minister accused of raping a woman in 1988, when he was 17 and she 16. He has hired Mr Bartlett to advise him and has vigorously denied the allegations.
NSW Police have closed their investigation into the matter because the woman who made the allegations took her own life in June 2020, without giving a sworn statement. They did not interview Mr Porter.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison continued to resist pressure to set up an independent inquiry to determine whether Mr Porter is a fit and proper person to serve as Attorney-General. He said on Wednesday he would not move Mr Porter out of the portfolio.
Hes a fine Attorney-General and a fine Minister for Industrial Relations, and he is an innocent man under our law, Mr Morrison said.
To suggest that there should be some different treatment applied to him, based on what have been allegations that the police have closed the matter on, I think that would be grossly inappropriate to take actions against him on that basis.
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Tammy Mills is the legal affairs reporter for The Age.
Chris Vedelago is an investigations reporter for The Age with a special interest in crime and justice.
Katina Curtis is a political reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra.