L&E Global moves into Asia Pacific with addition of Oz firm Harmers

International employment law alliance L&E Global has admitted Australia’s Harmers Workplace Lawyers to its membership, as the organisation expands into Asia Pacific.

The addition of the Australian employment and industrial law firm comes after Mexican firm Natividad Abogados joined  the alliance (19 October 2011). The firm has more than 30 solicitors across its offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Highlights of the firm’s work include advising Australian Ski Areas Association in relation to the creation of a modern award for the Snow Sports Industry, securing one of the most advantageous modern awards granted by Fair Work Australia. It is also known for funding and representing employees in employment disputes in the public interest.

“Australia’s an up coming market and there’s been an influx of international firms entering into this increasingly important market,” said Stephan Swinkels, executive director of the alliance. “Many multinational companies have used Australia as an Asia Pacific hub. The joining of the Australian member will be beneficial for every member to develop international business.”

Since its inception in January 2011, the alliance has doubled its membership to 12 employment and labour law firms. In the next few months, the alliance will focus on integration instead of further expansion, although it will continue seeking suitable Asia-based firms to join.

“We don’t want to expand too fast, and we don’t want to be seen as a legal directory. We want to be a closely integrated alliance of top-tier boutique employment law firms,” said Swinkels.

“We’ve been looking carefully for Asia-based members, but there are certain difficulties. One of the hurdles is that there’s a lack of boutique employment firms in the emerging region,” said Swinkels.

Currently, 60 per cent of the alliance’s work comes from Europe, 25 per cent from the US and Latin America, and the remainder from Australasia. Swinkels aims to have equal amounts of work coming from each region in the future.

The alliance’s current member firms are:
Australia: Harmers Workplace Lawyers
Belgium: Van Olmen Wynant
Canada: Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti
France: Flichy Grangé Avocats
US: Jackson Lewis
Italy: LABLAW — Studio Legale Failla Rotondi & Partners
Mexico : Natividad Abogados
Netherlands: Palthe Oberman
Germany: Pusch Wahlig Legal
Poland: A. Sobczyk & Współpracownicy
Spain: Bufete Suárez de Vivero, S.L.
New Zealand: Swarbrick Beck Mackinnon New Zealand