Fri, 24 May 2013
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Herbert Smith partners give green light to Freehills talks
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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