28 June 2012 at 11:23 BST

Go-ahead for latest Anglo-Aussie merger

The partnerships of London-based firm Herbert Smith and Sydney-headquartered practice Freehills have overwhelmingly voted in favour of a merger, it was announced today.

David Willis: 'A single global offering'

The merged firm – which will be called Herbert Smith Freehills – says it will focus on providing an integrated service to clients across 20 offices. It will be a full-equity merger, with the firm saying in a statement that it will run a single profit pool from the official launch of the merger, which is scheduled for 1 October.

Global practice groups

The practice will be organised around global practice groups and led by joint chief executives David Willis and Gavin Bell, the current managing partners of Herbert Smith and Freehills respectively.
Mr Willis commented: ‘We share with Freehills a strong belief that over the next few years the market for premium legal services will become increasingly dominated by a small number of truly global firms. This merger will therefore put us in a strong position to provide clients with the single global offering they increasingly demand.’

Crashed alliance

A City law firm insider said: ‘This is a good merger for Herbies – many people didn’t see it coming and it roughly makes the firm the same size globally as White & Case. There are still some gaps in Western Europe and the US, but generally its coverage is now pretty good.’
The tie-up follows the demise of Herbert Smith’s long standing alliance with
Germany’s Gleiss Lutz and Benelux firm Stibbe, which came crashing to an end last December when the European’s vetoed a merger proposal. Herbert Smith was then rumoured to be looking to a New York link before turning its eye down under.


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