Ashurst moves towards greater alignment in Oz but denies partner cuts

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  • As an Ashurst Australia employee, I can tell you the morale amongst the legal staff at the moment is pretty low. From the start, people have been perplexed why we are tying up with a third tier UK firm. We (and I assume clients, peers, prospective employees etc) have had to try to reconcile being (/being associated with) a top-tier firm with a mid-tier brand. I don’t question the quality of legal talent here, but there is a lot in brand and one wonders how long the status quo will subsist, particularly when you hear of the likes of A&O, Clifford Chance, Jones Day etc doubling in size in their first few years in AU. We are told the vision is to be one of a handful of “elite global firms” but how is this possible when the apparent strategy is to use a brand with a patchy reputation as springboard to “elite” status, all the while as top legal talent trickles out the door?

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  • I'm not sure how one can claim that Blakes is a top tier firm and Ashurst is third tier while the PEP of the former is actually lower. While A&O, CC and Jones Day etc may have doubled in the first few years, those firm did not merge with an existing giant but grew with lateral hires. If you look at Ashurst in other Asian cities you will perhaps see that the growth is surely more than a double.

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  • Email above from anonymous 1 is hilarious. Overall turnover of Blakes and number of offices and reach and almost no capacity to do English law work, without merger firm - they - would have disappeared or reduced its PEP further.

    Partner's will definitely be culled. There is too mcuh excess fat and Australian firms have too many practice groups that are not very profitable. MC and SC firms in UK are managed to only do most profitable work. No one is interested in doing single jurisdiction deals.

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  • As someone who does not work at either Blakes or Ashurst, but rather a major consumer of legal resources on a global scale, I never understood this deal. Blakes was probably number 4 or 5 in Aust market - Ashurst very much third tier in the UK but most importantly in Asia they are a complete nobody of a firm - why Blakes would tie up with a firm that gives it no real market winning presence in Asia and throw away its name before a real deal is done is beyond me .

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  • Since when have Australian summer clerks (i.e., Anonymous | 1-Feb-2013 4:45 pm) been allowed to post comments to The Lawyer website?

    For the record, lawyers at all major corporate and commercial law firms are, or at least should be, ashamed to tell people where they work. Embrace the shame and revel in it, or otherwise go in-house!

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  • The first comment above appeared to be a sensible analysis ending in a poignant lament. It is such a pity when stable firms which help people grow as practising lawyers are sacrificed on the alter of PEP.

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  • While Ashurst London is claimed to be chasing the magic circle, I agree with the first commentator that the firm's global image is definitely third tier.

    With the exception of Paris, the offices in continental Europe are performing weak and cannot really attract top legal talent. The firm's image in the US and the development and performance of its offices in New York and D.C. are disastrous.

    Ashurst is lightyears away from an "elite global firm" unless they sneak in through the backdoor by merging with a strong US player. I keep my fingers crossed for my friends at Blakes that Ashurst will not pull the exit option if a US merger comes in sight.

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  • where is firmspy when you need it!
    i am an ashurst australia employee, completely agree with the first comment. embarrassing!!

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