find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
King & Wood Mallesons Europe arm severed

King & Wood Mallesons Europe arm severed

The European fort of KWM’s Swiss verein model has come crashing down amid a debt blow-out into the tens of millions and the fast exit of some of its most senior partners.

Administrators have been called in to sell of pieces of KWM’s European arm. The Australian Financial Review reports that loss of the firm’s European business could incur losses of around 28 per cent.

The dissolution of KWM’s European arm has been largely attributed to the firm’s partners in that region “failing to commit to an intense recapitalisation program”, the AFR reported.

In November, KWM partners in Europe voted down a final recapitalisation bid that proposed a £14 million ($23.8 million) contribution for one year. King & Wood Mallesons LLP (London) filed a court notice of its intention to appoint administrators last week.

“The firm's management team and financial advisers continue to work to ensure the best possible outcome for clients and staff, and this move supports these efforts at a key point for the business,” a statement from the London office read.

KWM’s financial ruckus in Europe seems to show that the global giant’s foothold in the region, cemented in 2012 by a merger with SJ Berwin, has all but faltered.

On its website the blue chip describes itself as a “global elite firm for the next century” but the saga playing out in Europe suggests the region has complicated that vision.

Speaking to Lawyers Weekly earlier this year about the global focus more Australian law firms are embracing, Sue Kench, KWM Australia's chief executive partner, said that being able to offer clients insights across multiple markets definitely gives firms an edge.

She added that it is important for firms to have a “global mindset” regardless of whether they have a global presence or multi-national clients.

“Markets, products and practices increasingly have an international exposure,” Ms Kench said.

It is reported that an attempt to salvage some of the blue chip’s Europe and Middle East offices are being negotiated by KWM, before pieces of its regional business are siphoned off by administrators.

The law firm has tracked strong performance in both Australia and China, however, reporting recent growth in both profit and revenue. In July, Acritas announced that King & Wood Mallesons had topped the rankings of its Asia-Pacific law firm brand index, where KWM has 18 offices.

KWM has gone on record to say that it will continue to push its strategy for global expansion under the Swiss verein model.

Under the KWM verein model member finances remain separate, while its various global offices are unified by one brand. It is a structure that ensures the global powerhouse’s Australian and Chinese arms are largely protected from the financial fall-out that has now beleaguered their European counterparts.

A spokesperson from KWM’s Australian office in Sydney reiterated that it was legally and financially separate from KWM EUME and that the developments in Europe would not affect the local group.

“There is no direct impact to the firm here,” the spokesperson said.

“We remain in a very strong and stable position in our core markets in Australia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore, and we are as focused as ever on supporting our clients domestically and internationally. The AU firm is finishing the calendar year with another 12 months of financial growth.”

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

King & Wood Mallesons Europe arm severed
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
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 & ...