Wed, 22 May 2013
Exploit the power of digital with The Lawyer Acumen
The Lawyer Acumen is a comprehensive online resource giving everyone in the legal market real-time business intelligence on the sector.
31 August 2009 | By Kit Chellel
31 August 2009
29 June 2009
15 November 2010
23 June 2009
15 February 2013
Norton Rose has stepped up its pursuit of a US merger following its June tie-up with Australian firm Deacons. And the firm has now widened its search beyond the confines of New York.
Chief executive Peter Martyr told The Lawyer Norton Rose “could not wait forever” for a deal and said the firm had drawn up a long list of around 20 US firms that could be potential merger targets.
Norton Rose has long sought a presence in the US, which is seen as vital to its international status.
In February this year chairman Stephen Parish said the firm needed a US law capability within a period of five to 20 years.
Norton Rose began its hunt for a US partner in the late 1990s, but was unable to secure a deal.
Martyr said: “In the 1990s the one thing we could see was New York. We’ve realised that the US is more than just New York.
“There are some quite powerful players who want to be more international. There’s a list of about 20 firms in that category.”
He added that the Deacons deal would make Norton Rose “more attractive” to a potential suitor because of the firm’s increased coverage in Asia.
Norton Rose has taken over the running of the £106m-turnover Australian firm, but stopped short of full profit-sharing, although Martyr has not ruled out complete financial integration in the future.
Anonymous | 1-Sep-2009 1:30 pm
this cannot end well..
Unsuitable or offensive?
Report this comment
Anonymous | 1-Sep-2009 6:27 pm
It is like arriving in new Zealand and turning your watches back 10 years ? This was the firm's objective a decade ( and more ) ago and will fail , as it did then, because the firm believes in its heart that it is Magic Circle and it is not and the lucky hit list of firms in the US are quite comfortable without NR thanks very much. Good to see the firm recovering some prestige recently and planning for the long term because it is a good firm with likeable partners but the marketing noises make me think of a 50 something UK male chasing a 20 something US female and the wrong party has a fat wallet!.
Anonymous | 1-Sep-2009 6:49 pm
A questionable decision… NR has made significant progress over the last two years in achieving an outstanding reputation for the prudent yet caring and fair way it handled the economic downturn in being able to maintain profitability while remaining loyal to its employees. One hopes that this will not represent a step backwards in any of the above as can quite often be the case in transatlantic partnerships.
Anonymous | 2-Sep-2009 9:00 am
To the poster - "50 something UK male chasing a 20 something US female and the wrong party has a fat wallet!."The 20 something US female ex-capmarkets or ex-corporate sat at home twiddling their thumbs because they were axed I am sure are not quite as assured as you purport. To make it clear - I do not agree that that the notion of merger is a good one. Although not because US firms have proven to be giants lording over the legal world sitting above the UK competition, as the poster seems to claim, rather learning from history a wave of US firms have proven to be somewhat unstable entities, fragile, fickle, and over exposed to market change. NR has proven to be a stable ship and talks of a merger at the moment makes one think of a 40 something UK male chasing a 20 something US female yet unbeknown to the UK male the US female has an STI !
Anonymous | 3-Sep-2009 3:23 pm
It is exactly because NR knows it is NOT a Magic Circle firm that it is broadening its horizons in the way mentioned in the article.The theory used to be "Hey, we're a top 10-15 UK firm, so we ought to be able to merge with a top 10-15 US firm". That led to a decade of wasted discussions with US firms with PEP well in excess of a firm like NR.NR has wised up and realised that there are plenty of so-called "regional" (i.e., not New York) US firms that are actually pretty healthy potential merger partners.
Arnie | 3-Sep-2009 11:00 pm
If you're aiming for the US, and you end up in Australia, is it a natural assumprion that you're heading in the wrong direction?Arnie
Anonymous | 7-Sep-2009 4:47 pm
Deacons made a lot of sense as a merger partner for NR - an all credit to them for pulling it off. I don't suppose anyone at NR is daft enough to think they're gunning for Sullivan & Cromwell. There are some nice little asset finance boutiques in New York that would both make commercial sense and allow NR to claim that it's got one up on its peers. If they manage that as well then good luck to them.
pious cant | 9-Sep-2009 1:26 pm
The term "magic circle" is utterly meaningless. People who cling to such labels (read: hide behind past glory) will be relegated to the outer circle. The business of law is changing - maybe even more rapidly than firms realise or can effectively respond to. Employees don't buy the old self-love BS and clients certainly don't. Those firms that innovate, embrace technology and are not afraid to change and grow will succeed. Example from Japan: Linklaters is no powerhouse. Nor is Clifford Chance. Freshfields isn't top tier in this town. Slaughter & May is a non-entity. Cravath is less than zero. Sullivan & Cromwell a bare thread. Simpson, Thatcher ditto. Debevoise nadda. Skadden is here in numbers, but not making leaps and bounds. Latham & Watkins might still be here somewhere, hiding. The real winners in Japan are those firms, like MoFo that have a US heritage but have adapted their offering to suit the market and in doing so take the lion's share of marketshare among foreign firms. In sum, taking on new markets in Asia (where the real growth will be) is all about attitude and desire. If Norton Rose wants to be big in Asia it will be. If a US firm wants in on that action, then it would be a very sensible decision for them. Asia is there for the taking, and so far not many have shown that they know how to play the Asia game with any real finesse.
View All Related Briefings
Subscribe to The Lawyer today and get all the latest news stories, both domestic and global, and analysis of the legal sector.
A subscription includes:
The latest legal news, opinion, analysis, jobs and events. Wherever you are, whenever you need it.
Let us help you with an integrated approach to mobile and online advertising.
Site powered by Webvision