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
Global onslaught to slow down

Global onslaught to slow down

A consultant who has quizzed global law firms believes 2013 will see the brakes put on the expanding Australian legal market.

Last week, strategic communications consultancy Pier Advisory released the first tranche in a wide-ranging survey of 57 organisations, 45 of which were law firms, including firms that have recently entered Australia.

Despite the recent rush of global law firm entrants, with rumours Freshfields will be the next major firm to enter Australia, Pier Advisory managing director Jeffrey Naqvi (pictured) said the rate of recent growth could not be sustained.

“I don’t believe there will be a high number of global law firms entering the Australian market next year,” he told Lawyers Weekly. “2013 will be a year of consolidation.”

The survey found that Australia came on the radar for 42 per cent of firms in the last three-to-five years. Contrary to popular belief that entry into Australia was part of an overall expansion plan in the Asia-Pacific, almost three-quarters of those surveyed (73%) said that entering Australia was not part of a gateway strategy into Asia.

“A lot of the marketing spiel that has accompanied such market entries often talks about ‘connecting up to Asia, seamless client service to the Asia-Pacific’ and so on,” said Naqvi. “What was refreshing to note was that speaking to the senior players up close, you realise that they just want a piece of the action here whilst the world’s markets are cooling at pace.”

Naqvi’s views differ from that of many legal commentators, such as former Middletons managing partner and legal consultant John Chisholm.

He believes that the poor state of the American economy means that expansionist American firms will need to seek fresh markets to sustain further growth.

“You will find more American firms coming in [to Australia],” he said in July. “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.”

Melbourne matters
The most popular route for global entrants into Australia has been to open offices in Sydney and Perth. This east-coast – west-coast strategy has been adopted by Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and, more recently, Squire Sanders. The American-based global firm opened its Sydney office this month, 13 months after launching in Perth.

The rationale behind such moves is that Perth offers a chance to cash-in on the resources boom, while a single office in Sydney is sufficient to muscle in on the domestic firms with expertise in M&A and banking & finance work.

“Melbourne still has a lot of attraction for global firms,” said Naqvi. “In energy and resources, much of the associated infrastructure and transport and logistics work is run out of the Melbourne office of national and global firms.”

Global players in Melbourne, such as DLA Piper, King & Wood Mallesons and Herbert Smith Freehills, subsumed existing practices when merging with local firms.

Naqvi said there would be further information released from the survey, which was conducted between April and October, between now and early 2013.

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

Global onslaught to slow down
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
Oct 19 2017
‘Ego status’ compelled ex-lawyer to defraud $2.97m, court told
Debarred lawyer John Gordon Bradfield told an NSW District Court that he was driven by “ego status...
Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA), Queensland’s new industrial manslaughter legislation,
Oct 19 2017
ALA welcomes ‘tough’ Qld manslaughter laws
The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has welcomed Queensland’s new industrial manslaughter legisl...
Legal podcasts, tune in, microphone
Oct 19 2017
Legal podcasts you have to tune in to right now
The rise of the internet has hailed in a new dawn for storytelling. Here’s our top pick of podcast...
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 & ...