Follow which leader?

First Norton Rose offers four-day working across the business. Then, six months later A&O announces that equity partners will be able to work part-time from 1 May this year (albeit under slightly different circumstances).

OK, so flexible working is de rigueur at the moment. There might not be anything in that.

But, consider this. Norton Rose – a firm with a credible Asian and energy practice – decides to reinforce this through an Australian launch. One month down the line, who should decide to springboard its way into Southeast Asia through the back door?

You’ve got it. None other than A&O. The firm claims that it has been looking at it for the last 10 years or so, but did you hear a peep out of it when Clifford Chance was circling Mallesons Stephen Jacques? No, we didn’t think so.

Now, as The Lawyer reveals today, A&O has signed on offices in Sydney (see story).

Of all the office buildings it could have chosen to occupy in Sydney, and in a city of 4m people there must be quite a few, let’s be honest, it is taking on space formerly occupied by Deacons.
Yes,  Norton Rose’s Aussie merger partner.

A Norton Rose spokesperson dismissed A&O’s discipleship as sign of “healthy competition”.

But come on guys, there’s healthy and there’s downright spooky.

—————
Also on TheLawyer.com today: if Australia doesn?t float your boat, try Turkey; what White & Case will do after that Latham raid; and how lawyers can minimise that tax bill.
Plus: a postcard from Budapest.