Herbies finds its didgeridoo

Herbert Smith has finally arrived at the party, but the taxi must have been stuck in traffic.

The firm has been eyeing an Australian launch at least since last May, following in the path of rivals Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Norton Rose. In the mean time, Ashurst has agreed a deal with local firm Blake Dawson.

Why the delay? Internal politics has certainly delayed the firm’s international growth, which is known to be a source of, erm, debate among partners.

Now there seems to have been a decisive step, with management giving the go-ahead to formal talks with Aussie firm Freehills. London partner Greg Mulley, the chief of this particular mission, has been Down Under in recent weeks, while Freehills partners themselves are understood to have voted on the negotiations.

Herbies isn’t known for its strategic boldness, but perhaps being fashionably late might just pay off.