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Squire Sanders & Dempsey is on the verge of opening in Australia, after revealing it is in the final stages of merger talks with the Perth office of Australia’s Minter Ellison.
The US firm, which also merged with UK firm Hammonds on 1 January, is launching in Australia with a view to expanding its presence in the Asia Pacific region.
Minter Ellison Perth partners have already voted in favour of the combination, and Squire Sanders partners are due to vote on the proposed merger by the end of August.
Squire Sanders chair and global chief executive officer James Maiwurm said: “The potential combination of Squire Sanders and partners from Minter Ellison Perth would add to our capabilities and developing practice in Asia, with Perth providing a key hub for services to the region’s growing economies.
“We’re attracted to the Minter Ellison Perth partners because of their strong domestic practices and outstanding energy and resources component, which will complement and strengthen Squire Sanders’ existing practices and expertise.”
He added: “The enhanced practice will enable the combined firm to strengthen relationships with clients in Japan and China, where Squire Sanders has strong offices, and with clients and opportunities in Africa, and the rest of South East Asia.”
Minter Ellison has eight offices in Australia as well as bases in New Zealand, China, Hong Kong and London, but only the Perth office is due to be combined with Squire Sanders.
Out of the Perth office’s 18 partners, it is understood 14 will join the new Squire Sanders office, with four partners opting to launch a separate Perth office under the original Minter Ellison banner.
More than 25 per cent of the work of Minter’s Perth lawyers is cross-border within the Asia Pacific region, and current managing partner of the Perth office John Poulsen said Squire Sanders’ global footprint would be a natural fit for the firm.
Poulson, who is also designate managing partner for the future Squire Sanders Australia office, said the US firm’s construction, major projects and arbitration skills would also enhance the skills of the Perth partners to better serve clients.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for our lawyers and staff to be part of a global platform that enhances our strong domestic and international practice,” Poulson said.
“This is the first recognition by a global law firm that Perth is a key hub serving the Asia Pacific, one of the world’s most dynamic economies.”
Squire Sanders was one of the first US law firms to open in Asia with its Tokyo office established in 1955. The firm has since opened offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.