Herbert Smith prepares to vote on Freehills tie-up

Herbert Smith is gearing up to vote on its proposed tie-up deal with Australian firm Freehills, with the firm scheduling mid-June for a partner ballot.

The Lawyer first reported on the two firms’ intentions to join forces last year (12 December 2011), with Herbert Smith partners giving their backing to merger talks in January (17 January 2012).

London-based partner Greg Mulley, an Australia-qualified lawyer, is leading Herbert Smith’s discussions with Freehills.

Freehills is also planning to vote on the deal around the same time in June. If the tie-up plan wins the backing of both firms’ partnerships, the combination is expected to roll out at the beginning of October 2012.

Details emerged recently suggesting that the two firms have no plans to be financially integrated on launch, but will explore the possibility of a full merger in the future.

At the end of 2011, Freehills had 980 lawyers, including almost 200 partners. It is the third largest law firm in Australia by lawyer headcount and the second largest by revenue. In the 2010-11 financial year, the firm pulled in A$511m (£346m).

The firm has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth and a single international branch in Singapore.

Freehills also has a strategic alliance relationship with Beijing-based firm TransAsia Lawyers and runs associated offices with Indonesian firm Soemadipradja & Taher in Jakarta and Vietnamese firm Frasers Law Company in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Herbert Smith has about 1,400 lawyers with 273 partners across 13 offices. The firm recorded £465.1m turnover for the 2010-11 financial year.