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
Merged firm’s global ambitions

Merged firm’s global ambitions

Herbert Smith Freehills, the world’s eighth-largest law firm by headcount following the official merger yesterday (1 October), is ramping up its efforts to inch up the global ranks with the launch of three offices planned for 2013.

Gavin Bell (pictured right), joint CEO of what is now the largest fully-integrated firm in the Asia-Pacific region, told Lawyers Weekly that plans for further expansion next year are well and truly underway.

Since the merger was announced in June, Herbert Smith Freehills has opened an office in New York. The firm has also applied for a licence to launch an office in Seoul, South Korea. If successful, the move will cement the firm’s place as a powerhouse in the Asia-Pacific, according to Bell. “Over the next decade, [the] Asia-Pacific will increasingly become the engine room of the world economy,” he said.

Bell also said that Herbert Smith Freehills needs a presence in Germany. “Germany is a gap for us at the moment,” he admitted, blaming the termination of Herbert Smith’s alliance with Gleiss Lutz at the close of last year. Herbert Smith decided to cut ties with its German partner less than a week after a failed three-way merger bid with Gleiss Lutz and Benelux-based firm Stibbe in November 2011.

Another Herbert Smith Freehills office is planned for Guinea, driven by the UK arm’s growing mining practice,  Bell revealed. But, he added, Australian partners also stand to benefit from expansion in the region. “A number of Australian clients are investing in South Africa ... there is a strong synergy there.”

Bell’s co-CEO David Willis (pictured left) reiterated that a key priority for the firm is international growth. “We recognise that the firm’s global reach, when combined with our industry sector strengths and balance of disputes and transactional expertise, will be the foundation on which we can build strong and deep client relationships.”

Herbert Smith Freehills is taking a phased approach to integration. The first instalment focuses on client-facing aspects, such as the firm’s branding, website, email system and documentation. A number of internal structures, including its partner remuneration system – a hybrid of Freehills’ merit-based system and Herbert Smith’s lockstep system – will take effect next financial year.

Ensuring the two legacy firms were ready for the 1 October launch date required significant backend work, Bell revealed. “I’ve used the analogy of a swan gracefully sailing along the surface, but there’s been a lot of peddling hard to get here,” he said.

While Bell would not comment on whether he would take the role of sole CEO if Willis steps down at the end of his term in 2013, he did confirm that the firm is moving towards a single head.

For now, Bell and Willis will jointly lead the firm through the transition period.

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

Merged firm’s global ambitions
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
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...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
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 & ...