find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Resurrected merger talks show firms still indecisive

Resurrected merger talks show firms still indecisive


Norton Rose Fulbright and Henry Davis York have confirmed they are exploring a potential merger again, following an uncertain six-month standoff.

In November last year, Lawyers Weekly spoke to Norton Rose Fulbright and Henry Davis York after speculation that the two were about to undergo a merger plagued the profession.

At the time, the pair confirmed that while they had discussed a possible merger the move was off the cards for now.

Instead, Norton Rose Fulbright said it was focused on building out its new practice in Papua New Guinea.

“There is often market speculation about mergers in the global and Australian context. We, like many firms, are subject to such speculation from time to time. As you would expect, we often talk to people and firms in jurisdictions around the world, about all sorts of possibilities,” a spokesman for the global firm said.

“We are currently focused on building out our practice in the Asia-Pacific region, most recently in Papua New Guinea and elsewhere, and are constantly evaluating different ways of doing this.”

Meanwhile, a HDY spokesperson categorically stated that it had “no plans to undertake a merger” at the time. The spokesperson did however note that “HDY, as should any law firm in the Australian legal market, talks to other firms all the time on a range of subjects”.

After what has seemed like a six-month rally of ‘will they or won’t they’, the two firms have released a joint statement confirming that a potential merger is back on the cards.

“Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright and leading Australian law firm Henry Davis York are exploring a potential combination to create one of the largest providers of legal services in the Australian market, with leading positions in key industry sectors and practices,” a joint statement from a spokesman said.

“Partners of both firms will be considering this opportunity and making a decision in due course.”

Lawyers Weekly understands that Henry Davis York managing partner Michael Greene has returned from an overseas trip last week, where he was presumably meeting with NRF heavyweights to flesh out the detail.

According to an overseas legal publication, partners at both firms will vote on the merger by the end of winter.

Confirmation that the two firms are again in merger talks comes after Henry Davis York retrenched 25 Sydney staff members last month. Of the 25, six fee-earning lawyers were sacked.

At the time the story broke in May, Lawyers Weekly received a number of comments. Two of which confirmed that HDY had also canned its summer clerk program.

Other commenters, however, used the platform to speak about a merger between the mid-tier and NRF.

“If HDY does ultimately merge with NRF, then those who have been made redundant have probably dodged a bullet,” a commenter said.

“HDY staff had a lucky escape that there was no merger with NRF,” added another.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Resurrected merger talks show firms still indecisive
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA applauds proposed Modern Slavery Act
The Law Council of Australia has welcomed new recommendations for the development of a Modern Slaver...
Top-tier offers targeted mentoring for Indigenous law students
Students at Macquarie University will be the first to benefit from a new Indigenous mentoring progra...
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...