Partner and current Australia chairman, Adrian Ahern (pictured), is set to take over the reins as global chairman from Norman Steinberg on 1 May.
Ahern, a M&A specialist who is currently based in Sydney and heads the firm’s financial institutions’ industry group in the Asia-Pacific, will become the first Australian to fill the lofty position within the nominally England-based global law firm. He told Lawyers Weekly that it’s an appointment he is looking forward to and one that is more than just ceremonial.
“The position will be reasonably hands on, very client focused,” said Ahern about the non-executive position, which runs for one year.
“The chairman role at our firm has significant focus on enhancing client relationships, so on a regular basis I will be meeting with clients to make sure we’re delivering the services we should be providing.”
Ahern said he thinks his appointment may give Norton Rose’s Australia operation an advantage over its rivals.
“It will certainly bring the Australian practice to the forefront within the Norton Rose network,” he said.
“The mere fact that I’m Australian, and coming from the Australian practice, is very positive for the practice here.
“I am honoured to be the first partner from Australia appointed to the global chairman role. I will continue to focus on the growth of our international business as we welcome one of the US’s most highly-regarded legal practices, Fulbright & Jarworski, to Norton Rose from June of this year.”
“The two things that will be my main focus are helping grow the firm in Asia-Pacific and engaging with partners and clients in the US.”
Wayne Spanner, the managing partner of Norton Rose in Australia said: “The appointment of one of our Australia-based partners to global chairman is a significant milestone, not only for Norton Rose but for Australian business generally. Adrian’s global role underscores the importance of the Asia-Pacific region in an international business.”
Ahern revealed that Norton Rose’s Australia M&A practice is travelling “quite well” after a good second half to 2012.