Australian banking partner takes charge at firm's UK base

TOP ten Australian firm Blake Dawson Waldron has appointed a new head for its London office.

Justin Shmith, a partner working in the banking and derivatives sector at the firm's Melbourne office, has taken over from David Williamson.

Williamson, who was in the London post for 18 months, is moving to the corporate group based at the company's head office in Sydney.

Shmith, who last worked in the City about 10 years ago, will work with senior associate Amanda Barnett.

His post revolves around referring work back home for UK-based companies who want to invest in Australia and Asia. The firm has offices in Papua New Guinea and Jakarta.

He says the firm has no plans to expand in London.

The email link with Blake Dawson's other offices has proved an effective means of coping with the huge time zone difference, says Shmith.

“If I get a query late in the afternoon I can contact Australia and they can be working on it and on line in the morning,” he says.

AN INVESTORS' guide has been produced for UK lawyers and business people looking to move into Armenia.

Solicitor Carl Ulbricht has spent the last year in the former Soviet Union working on the project financed by the Foreign Office's Know How Fund.

Ulbricht, formerly with City firm Sinclair Roche & Temperley, has also produced an Armenian/English dictionary of legal terms and has been teaching English commercial law at the state university in Yerevan.

The year-long project to promote further links with the CIS comes to a close as the UK Government prepares to open an embassy in Armenia.

“The region already has good trade links with France and the US and the opening of a British embassy can only be good news,” says Ulbricht, a member of the British Armenian Lawyers Association.

Several UK law firms are already developing links with the country although none has an office there.

Nabarro Nathanson is currently involved in two projects in the region for inter-governmental agencies.

“I think the Caucuses – Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan – will be a growth region particularly if economic and political stability can be achieved,” says Nabarros' solicitor Pete Williamson, who is working on one of the projects. The West End firm also has a Georgian lawyer working in its London office.

The foreign investors' guide can be obtained from Carl Ulbricht on 081-748 4089.