Allen and Overy has raided Australian firm Clayton Utz to launch a practice in the jurisdiction for the first time, in a bid to strengthen its pan-Asian offering.
The magic circle firm has taken a team of 14 partners from Clayton Utz as part of a 17-partner offering. Of the new partners, 14 are based in Sydney and three in Perth.
A&O has also recruited one partner from Freehills, as well as one former bank in-houser and another Clayton Utz alumnus.
The firm said the decision to launch in Australia came after analysing the market and deciding that there was space for a “smaller high-end law firm that is integrated into broad global network”.
The practice will focus on: energy, mining and natural resources; finance; infrastructure; investment funds; corporate; tax, and telecoms, media and technology.
The firm’s energy and resources practice will be based in Perth, while its corporate, finance, tax funds and infrastructure capabilities will be primarily based in Sydney.
“Our decision to launch in Australia underlines the increasing importance of Australia in the global and Asia-Pacific economies,” said senior partner David Morley. “We see significant opportunities for high-end, cross-border M&A and finance work in the private and public sectors, particularly in the energy, mining and natural resources sectors.”
Thomas Brown, Allen & Overy’s Asia-Pacific managing partner, said: “Our expansion into Australia not only provides opportunities to develop new client relationships, it also enables us to service the needs of our existing clients in another key market and adopt a fully integrated approach to the Asia-Pacific region.
“This move also improves access to the deep pool of high quality lawyers that exists in the Australian legal market, making this the logical next step in our plans to expand our global network.”
Allen and Overy already has practices in China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.