Blake Dawson pulls out of London as billings dry up

AUSTRALIAN law firm Blake Dawson Waldron will close its London office after it stopped generating its own revenue.

After 14 years in the UK, the falling billings and the firm’s international strategy to focus more on Asia will see Blake Dawson close the doors of its City office on 30 November, as first revealed on (20 October).

Blake Dawson London managing partner Geoff Hone said: “When you consider straight billings out of London, it wasn’t that much. We needed to have that added integration [of a representative base] to justify it.”

Australian management reviewed the office annually and the decision to close came as the office found itself handling less billing work and more promotional and representative work for clients.

“We concluded, after looking at it closely and with what we wanted to do elsewhere, that we can do the work from Australia. The representative role we can do more cheaply and effectively with an increased programme of visits,” said Hone.

Hone said the firm’s clients were increasingly dealing directly with the Australian offices. Blake Dawson operated a smaller office than the other two Australian firms represented in London – Mallesons Stephen Jacques and Minter Ellison.

Australian firms Allens Arthur Robinson, Corrs Chambers Westgarth and Freehills all closed their London outposts in the mid-1990s.

A partner at an Australian rival with a London base said: “There’s a big difference between being here and communicating with here.”