SJ Berwin chief on merger with King & Wood Mallesons: “The world has changed”

SJ Berwin senior partner Stephen Kon has spoken about how the client shift from West to East has propelled his firm to combine with Asia Pacific giant King & Wood Mallesons – which goes live today (1 November).

In a video interview with The Lawyer editor Catrin Griffiths, he said: “The direction of travel has changed.” Cultural differences, Kon added, were not as significant as many outsiders believe.

He said: “Although I know that it’s not uncommon to exaggerate the cultural differences between Asia and Europe, one of the great strengths of the combination is how well we do get on with people. We don’t see those cultural differences. We don’t feel them.”

Kon rejected suggestions that recent partner departures were linked to the King & Wood Mallesons tie-up. He said: “Not one single departure has anything to do with the combination. We did not have one single partner vote against the combination.”

Kon will become global co-deputy chairman of the combined firm, which operates a Swiss Verein structure and will retain the SJ Berwin brand only for a transitional period. 


King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin global co-deputy chair Stephen Kon speaks to The Lawyer