Jones Day has hired Allens construction partner Stephen McComish to launch its second Australia base in Perth.
The opening, set for April, will build on the US firm’s 13-partner Sydney office, which opened in 1998. Perth-born McComish has been a partner at Allens, which entered into an exclusive alliance with Linklaters in April 2012 (23 April 2012), for nearly a decade.
Sydney managing partner Chris Ahern said: “Opening in Perth allows us to better serve clients in the new phase of development of the state’s resources industry, and Stephen’s vast experience with a range of both local and international clients gives us added depth in litigation and contractual matters related to these complex projects.”
A number of US firms have moved into the Australian markets in recent years. In October Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan set out plans to more than double the size of its presence there (8 October 2013) while K&L Gates added four partners to its Melbourne, Perth and Sydney bases (11 October 2013).
However a survey by National Australia Bank published back in July showed that business conditions had slumped to a four-year low. The country’s law firms felt the pinch, as many struggled to achieve revenue growth. Ashurst Australia, Clayton Utz and King & Wood Mallesons, for example, saw turnover fall by 2.4 per cent, 4.1 per cent and 3.2 per cent respectively in 2012/13.
Due to the tough market conditions and the integration process in merged firms there is also a perception that the big players in Australia are getting leaner. DLA Piper’s Australian offices, for example, had 107 partners at the end of July, down 6 per cent from 114 partners a year ago.
Jones Day’s estimated global litigation and arbitration revenue of $900m secured it fourth place in this year’s Global Litigation Top 50.