Beachcrofts to investigate international relationships

Beachcroft Wansbroughs has commissioned outgoing managing partner Bob Heslett to launch a sweeping review of its international strategy.

Heslett’s brief is to examine Beachcrofts’ current membership of networks and its relationships with firms in other jurisdictions.

“It needs to be a much tighter relationship than we have now,” commented senior partner Simon Hodson.

Beachcrofts is not planning an international merger, and Hodson said it was unlikely the firm will open any more international offices to add to its longstanding, albeit minimal, presence in Brussels. “You need proper local lawyers who can provide better local advice,” Hodson claimed.

Earlier this year Beachcrofts founded a new network of firms focused on risk management and litigation named Counselex. The organisation is based out of Bermuda and is run by former Beachcrofts partner Chris Blythe.

Counselex member firms have to sign up to a standard agreement as to how they will work with clients, although the network is not exclusive and referrals to non-member firms are permitted. Heslett’s review will look at building on this more structured approach and expanding on the ‘best friends’ model of international relationships.

In total, 13 law firms have joined the network, giving Counselex a presence in jurisdictions as diverse as Argentina, Israel and Spain.

Firms that have teamed up with Beachcrofts on the venture include US firm Seyfarth Shaw, which has a similar focus on financial services, healthcare and insurance. Last year Seyfarth turned over $313m (£176.2m).

Belgium’s Praxislaw and Swedish independent Setterwalls are also on board.

In addition to Counselex, Beachcrofts has been a member of Legal Network International since 1989 alongside firms such as Finland’s Roschier Holmberg.

Heslett steps down as managing partner today (31 October) and is set to be replaced by professional negligence specialist Paul Murray.