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
Corporate Lawyer
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· 12 months fixed term opportunity
View details
Property lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Property Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Impressive client list, national firm · Well-led and high-performing team
View details
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

The rate of global law firm arrivals here will not slow down anytime soon, according to two senior legal consultants._x000D_

The rate of global law firm arrivals here will not slow down anytime soon, according to two senior legal consultants.

The announcement of Freehills’ merger with Herbert Smith late last month means that, from 1 October, four of Australia’s six top-tier firms will have established formal links with global firms.

Despite all of those tie-ups having occurred between March and October this year, John Chisholm (pictured), a business consultant and former chief executive with Middletons, does not believe the market for global firms here has yet reached saturation point.

“I don’t think there is such a thing as a saturation point,” he said.  “It is not like we have 5000 or 10,000 new lawyers coming in. It is the same lawyers; they are just changing their clothes.”

With the notable exception of Squire Sanders, the vast majority of recent global law firm arrivals have come from the UK, with Herbert Smith joining Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Allen & Overy and Norton Rose in establishing connections with Australian firms.

Chisholm, who has just come back from the US, believes the poor health of that economy compared to many economies in the Asia-Pacific region will drive American firms to seek further growth by international expansion, including into Australia.

“You will find more American firms coming in,” he said. “With many of those firms they are tied to a growth strategy and, if you can’t grow in your existing market, you look at where the growth is. I think it is in Australia and I only think it is in Australia because of our relationship with Asia.”

Economies of scale
Ted Dwyer is a professional services consultant and former lawyer who, like Chisholm, is a regular visitor to the executive boardrooms of large national and global law firms.

He agrees with Chisholm that Australia’s proximity to Asia and the resources boom have acted as the catalysts for global law firms to arrive, and will do so into the future. 

He also believes that with more global law firm arrivals into Australia there will be a period of consolidation in the domestic legal market, which will mean that by the middle of the next decade six or seven global “mega-firms” will be in the best position to act on the high-end banking and finance and energy and resources work in Australia and internationally.

“There is pressure everywhere; and I am one of those believers that if you have scale and an opportunity to expand you get to regionalise your expertise at the very least,” he said. “I am also one of those people that believe there will only be six to seven major firms in the next 15 years.

“There will emerge some huge, truly global players.”

 

See Lawyers Weekly 590 next Friday for a more detailed analysis of the globalisation of Australia’s legal market, including extended interviews with John Chisholm and Ted Dwyer

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

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Warning
Aug 23 2017
NT Law Society sounds alarm on mandatory sentencing
The Law Society Northern Territory has issued a warning over mandatory sentencing, saying it hasn’...
Unite
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, even how we take a...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...