Herbert Smith Freehills’ Singapore startle

International consolidation of the profession was never going to pass without some fallout. Bringing two firm cultures together under a single roof will inevitably cause some upset to someone and result in exits.

Indeed, almost all top-tier Australian firms that have combined with a foreign partner in recent years have seen a notable level of lawyers departures – be they voluntary or forced.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Australian arm, for instance, has become the latest firm to make redundancies, putting 30 jobs at risk across Australia. Those affected include 12 fee earners and 18 support staff. But the Australian market has been through some tough times and firms need to respond to changes in the local market.

More surprising is the fallout in the Singapore office of Herbert Smith Freehills, which has seen a raft of exits in the year since legacy Herbert Smith joined together with legacy Freehills. Former Freehills Singapore managing partner John Dick has become the latest to quit the office

This only raises further questions about HSF’s plans for growth in the region. After all that was a key motivating factor behind the merger.

Is the firm being forced to back to square one of its Asia game?

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