Game of lockstep and ladders

Senior Ashurst staff have good reasons to want integration roles

Taking an integration role has almost become to Ashurst what spending more time with one’s family was to Margaret Thatcher’s government.

First, ex-senior partner Geoffrey Green moved back to London after five years in Hong Kong as Asia head, stepping down as an equity partner and continuing in a consultant-like role to assist with melding Ashurst and legacy Blake Dawson ahead of their financial union. And now finance director Nigel Morland has relinquished his position to be replaced by Allen & Overy London CFO Brian Dunlop and will remain at the firm in, you guessed it, an integration role.

There is no suggestion that any of the senior figures at the firm, who have stepped into such roles, were either forced to or are using the ‘integration’ tag as a Government minister-esque resignation excuse. After all, there is a lot to get done.

The full merger could happen this year. Plenty has been done already, with capital structures at the UK-headquartered firm, known internally as ‘LLP’, being aligned with ‘AA’, as Ashurst Australia is called within the firm. It is already working on integrating practice leadership and clients.

The most troublesome task will no doubt be transferring legacy Blakes partners onto the infamous Ashurst lockstep and sorting out the politics of who goes where. And this is the lockstep that has been referred to in these pages as a game of snakes and ladders.

There are plenty of reasons why senior Ashurst staff wish to spend more time with their integration.