IP a big winner as Gowling WLG reveals new global sector focus

Gowling WLG has revealed the new firm will focus its global offering across four major sectors following the merger between Canada’s Gowlings and Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co later this month.

The four sectors will be: advanced manufacturing; energy and natural resources; technology; and life sciences.

Wragges’ strategic development director Jenny Hardy said: “The sector strategy is clear. We put together our two lists of sectors, the sectors that we concentrate on as individual firms, and we identified those that we thought together with our collective and enhanced CV we’d be in a strong position to compete internationally in.”

“There are other sectors which are more important to one member firm than another. For example, public sector is strong for WLG and we’ll continue to focus on that moving forward. It’s not something that will hook up necessarily with Gowlings, at least to start with.”

Hardy also said that creating the sector focus allowed the teams at Gowlings and Wragges to improve integration between the teams in different countries.

Following the combination, which was announced in July, Gowling WLG will have a number of high-profile clients across its key sectors. The life sciences team provides advice to Astra Zeneca, Eli Lily and Novartis while the energy team acts for Exxon, Imperial Oil and Naftogaz.

The firm’s technology practice will advice clients such as Bell Canada and cloud outsourcing company Cisco. Gowling WLG’s advanced manufacturing practice will benefit from the two firms’ history of working within the automotive and aviation sectors and will boast Aston Martin as a client.

Despite the sector focus Gowling WLG is also aiming to boost its real estate and financial institutions sectors overseas. Speaking to The Lawyer in October Wragges’ head of real estate Richard Bate said real estate was not one of the factors which drove the merger talks between the two firms.

Although the sector accounts for 37 per cent of Wragges’ turnover he stated that real estate largely operated in a domestic market. However, prior to the combination between going live Bate has been talking to the teams in Canada to discuss how the firm can grow the practice internationally.

Alongside its key sector areas the firm is set to create a strong foundation around its IP practice. Wragges alone has a number of high profile US IP clients such as St Jude Medical, Delta Airlines and contact lenses manufacturer CooperVision.

Building on the firm’s IP practice could be the spark that forces the firm to grow its German office. Currently, Wragges operates a small IP-focused base in Munich and has stated its intention to grow the office for a number of years with little effect. However, it is now understood that the firm’s international head of projects and former senior partner Quentin Poole has been tasked with expanding the office.