Categories:Australasia

Herbert Smith partners give green light to Freehills talks

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  • I'm not quite sure why the rationale for this association/merger/dalliance/group grope should be quite so difficult for the Australian partner cited above to grasp.

    For Herbies, with Europe a dead letter and New York apparently not yet a glint in anyone's eye, it must make good strategic sense to strengthen a region in which they ooze quality. Australia would complete a formidable circle in the Asia Pacific, which would constitute a fantastic springboard for success elsewhere. In Freehills, they would also gain a raft of partners whose quality, pro rata, far exceeds that which is on offer at Blakes, Minters or Clutz and is easily on a par with Allens and King & Wood Mallesons.

    For Freehills, any sort of combination would make sense as well. It must be lonely when the icy breath of the global giants starts whistling around your ears. Does anyone really imagine that standing pat would protect Freehills from the sort of rape and pillage that has been visited on Clayton Utz, among others?

    It would be nice to believe that Herbert Smith will do the thing properly this time. A "loose association" is precisely the last thing they'd want, one would have thought, bearing in mind their experience of such arrangements in the past. Far better to get properly jilted and know where you stand than behave like Miss Havisham forever. It will be interesting to see whether the lesson has been learned.

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  • If HS and Freehills get it together, the combined firm will be an Asian powerhouse. All they need to find is a good American partner, possibly bringing with it a strong German practice. Suggestions?

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  • Interesting, there were talks of it joining forces with Blake Dawson not so long ago, but Freehills seems a good choice. Everyone is wanting to set foot in Australia, so it's about time Herbies got their act together

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  • Australia represents a bit a treasure trove for UK law firms as it is so strategically placed.

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  • Anything less than a merger woould be a waste of time, and simply recreate the same issues as the Gleiss Lutz Stibbe grouping in a different jurisdiction.

    A merger would however be a huge step forward for HS.

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  • The best placed of the big Australian firms will be the one or two that are left independent after the music stops.

    Their referral work will boom, and, if they want, they'll have the opportunity to pick and choose from the partners that are discarded from the merged firms as the Australian practices are brought back to scale.

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  • It will be interesting indeed to see whether the lessons have been learned.

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