Norton Rose signs tie-up with Australia's Deacons

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  • Strewth!

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  • This is obviously not a merger of equals. What is going to happen to Deacons offices? Will NR want outposts in Perth or Brissie?

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  • This is a really interesting move and one that the magic circle would surely have wanted to make first. Australian lawyers are known to be excellent and the access this gives to Asia, where Norton Rose is already pretty strong, will be really useful. But is Norton Rose still pursuing its dream of a US merger? This merger will take some time to bed down and if the firm also wants to make it on a transatlantic basis it would find itself facing some major cultural issues.

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  • More importantly, will Deacons want access to NR's middle east and european network. Perth and Brissie offices most likely generate more revenue due to the resources boom in Qld and Western Australia.

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  • Although I have never worked at Deacons it was always perceived as having a really great culture with a strong client base (yes even in Brisbane where it has a fairly large presence by Australian standards - sensible comment Chris on the resourses based clients)..... I can't imagine that the firm cultures would be incompatible. They could do with canning the open plan offices at Deacons though.

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  • Open plan offices: The horror! The horror!

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  • In addition to Asia in general, both Norton Rose and Deacons have substantial Indian expertise. The combined entity can easily service Indian market with Australian expertise (read resources) and English law capabilities of NR

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  • Get your facts right lads. English firms in OZ are old news.

    London City firm Holman Fenwick Willan have had an office in Melbouren for more than 3 years.

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  • Why would anyone want to work with Australians, there are enough of them here as it is.
    And there's a reason they were all sent back home on the first whiffs of downturn.
    They should stick to making barbees, Norton Rose should stick to outsourcing their legal work to Oz rather than merging with them.

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  • CRIKEY! Poor old Kezza (Kerry Packer) is still copping it even from the grave!!!

    We're a bit confused here in Melbourne. If the reason for the merger was to go bezerk in Asia then why not tie in the Asian offices? Sounds like they're yanking our chains.

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  • Better move for Deacons that NR in my view. Deacons are strictly B grade with a client base to match.

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  • That's a very useful comment Poisonous Trouser Snake... Thanks for adding such value!!!

    I think this sends out a very positive message from NR a firm that has been making a lot of positive headlines over the past few months - If this relationship is successful it will put NR is a great position to capture a lot of work that will be coming out of Asia in the next 10-15 years - Think this is a very good strategic move, and somewhere that the Magic Circle will recognise that they may have missed a trick.

    As far as the US tie goes, this may put some pressure on sealing a deal especially as NR's PEP is a not necessarily where it would like it to be for it to be able to secure a meaningful US tie-up - think it will need to address that before it can seriously consider the US market.

    All in all some good news for the legal market from NR when everything else seems to be doom and gloom.

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  • Norton Rose are just doing what DLA Piper did three years ago with Phillips Fox - now DLA Phillips Fox. It's old news now and I think we 'll see some consolidation in the Australian Market and as the economy recovers more global alliances. As for working with Aussies, I can tell you they are less hard work than their English counterparts and certainly not as snobby!

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  • That's a very useful comment Poisonous Trouser Snake... Thanks for adding such value!!!

    I think this sends out a very positive message from NR a firm that has been making a lot of positive headlines over the past few months - If this relationship is successful it will put NR is a great position to capture a lot of work that will be coming out of Asia in the next 10-15 years - Think this is a very good strategic move, and somewhere that the Magic Circle will recognise that they may have missed a trick.

    As far as the US tie goes, this may put some pressure on sealing a deal especially as NR's PEP is a not necessarily where it would like it to be for it to be able to secure a meaningful US tie-up - think it will need to address that before it can seriously consider the US market.

    All in all some good news for the legal market from NR when everything else seems to be doom and gloom.

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  • Interesting comment Poisonous Trouser Snake. Shame it is all the English lawyers getting asked to leave the Dubai firms with their heads hung low, whilst all the Australian lawyers seem to be retaining their positions. Funny that.

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  • Well I'm still here trouser snake, as are the vast majority of my antipodean peers....Why would anyone want to work with Australians? Because they are harding working, down to earth and in some case, much better lawyers than their silver spoon british public school counterparts... firing aussies is a cheaper option for some firms, they are seen as less litigous and are likely not to hang around to file claims

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  • So Australians are "harding working" (sic) are they, Anon-again? Ummm. And "less litigous" (sic). No wonder Aussies get a mauling if they can't write coherent sentences!

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  • I think that English lawyers are completely useless - and I'm from the states! I can't believe that Australians are getting criticized in this column.
    I have dealt with a couple of the big Australian firms on a number of occasions now and they are invariably better operators than their Magic Circle counterparts. English lawyers should be forced to do a 'seat' in Australia in my lowly opinion.

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  • That's a fully sic point bro.
    "Coherent"(a): Of thought, speech, reasoning, etc.: Of which all the parts are consistent, and hang well together.
    Lucky that english lawyers can differentiate between incoherent sentences and sentences which contain typographical errors.
    Note to self, do not make error when making fun of another person's error.

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  • "Lucky that english lawyers can differentiate between incoherent sentences and sentences which contain typographical errors."
    Note to self, Jimmy: do not presume that all posters are lawyers, especially English ones! Also, coherent means: "able to make one-self understood"!!! "harding working"...???

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  • Re "Jimmy: "do not presume that all posters are lawyers, especially English ones".... whether you're English or a lawyer (though that's a pretty reasonable assumption given this is a legal publication) doesn't really matter because there is one thing that is pretty clear - you're a tool mate.

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  • Don't ya just love riling the Aussies...bring on the Ashes!

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  • Did you make that definition up? I only ask because:

    a) it mispells 'oneself'; and
    b) misuses a self-reflexive pronoun.

    A good tip for writing definitions is to imagine that the definition simply replaces the defined term:

    e.g. "coherent sentences" becomes "sentences of which all the parts are consistent, and hang well together"

    as opposed to: "able to make oneself understood sentences" or "sentences able to make oneself understood"



    Or it must just be from the macquarie dictionary...

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  • and yes, clearly "mispell" should be "misspell".

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  • Nice to see interesting article on NR/Deacons (Australia) tie-up has degenerated into dull Aussie baiting. Impossible to stereotype Aussies let alone Aussie lawyers. If you're English and you think you're better than please post your name and firm and let the market decide. No doubt your entry in the Legal 500 already says how good you are....

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  • Intrigued to read above the Eng v Aus banter (an upcoming Test series will answer that question for the next couple of years) that NR and Deacons have expertise in India and therefore this is a sound strategic merger.

    Can anyone provide examples/links to verify this claim? My Perth-based mates thought that Deacons' main client was Bankwest - and the work disappeared following HBOS merger.

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  • Rick 12.28 pm
    Deacons is the most well known Australian law firm in India (surprisingly more popular than Freehills.) No one has heard of mallesons. Norton Rose has set up a thriving practice comprised of Indian lawyers in Singapore and the combined entity will be able to offer Australian expertise (which is same as UK expertise in many areas) at a lower cost than London rates. Also more Austrlian partners are willing to shift to Singapore (and later to Mumbai/Delhi) than UK partners. Remember India is a cost sensitive market.
    Imagine a Linklaters UK partner and an Australian parner both having Oil and gas experience bid for Indian work. Guess who is in a better position to win beacuse of lower rates?

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  • going back a few e-mails ... who's Holman Fenwick Willan? I don't suppose Norton Rose and Deacons stand a chance against them with a 3 year headstart.

    [as a Kenyan - aren't the Aussies and English pretty much one in the same?]

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  • This is The Lawyer, fellows, not Above the Law or Roll on Friday. Save the Aussie-baiting and the anally-retentive concentrating on typos for some gossip chat board.

    The NR / Deacons move is a smart one -- and if you read the press releases closely, it is not a merger. It is a way for both firms to go after the Asian market in a unified manner, taking advantage of NR's global client base and Deacons' regional client base and its local talent (most of the NR Asian offices are still "little corners of England"; Deacons has the lawyers with the requisite Asian experience and linguistic skills). If it is well managed, both firms will come out winners.

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  • seems pretty clear to me - you blokes dont have anything to do.

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  • Norton Rose's footprint in Asia is as big as any of the international firms. They've also had presence on the ground in Asia for over 30 years (including a tie up at one time with Johnson Stokes & Masters in HK). Without the Deacon's HK office I'm not sure it would be right to say Deacon's brings the requisite Asian experience to the relationship, although I'm sure their experience will complement one another.

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