NATIONAL COMMERCIAL law firm Home Wilkinson Lowry (HWL) has announced a merger with Abbott Tout Lawyers effective from 2 April 2007.
HWL has a strong presence in Melbourne while Abbott Tout is well known in Sydney so the merger should assist each in extending their reach over the eastern seaboard.
The merger will create a substantial mid-tier law firm with a projected turnover of $70 million a year and profitability among the top 10 per cent of all law firms in Australia.
The merged firm will focus on corporate, property and commercial law and Abbott Tout will offload its high-volume CTP practice to another law firm. Senior partners in the CTP practice are considering a number of options and are currently in discussions with potential firms, but declined to name which ones.
Juan Martinez, managing partner at HWL, predicts the legal industry will see an increasing number of similar mergers in the future.
“I think the interesting part is that it really shows where the legal market’s going — there’s going to be a consolidation of firms moving forward with more specific strategic focuses,” he said.
“I think firms will start working out what they want to be and how they want to get there and will consolidate in terms of their individual positioning. Significant practices will come together and make decisions about how they want to be perceived in the market.”
The merged organisation will practise under the name Home Wilkinson Lowry (incorporating Abbott Tout Lawyers). While both firms are similar in size, the decision to use HWL’s name was based on its stronger presence in Melbourne and Brisbane.
“On a fair analysis I think that we all agree that we’re the firm with the more significant national presence. For whilst Abbott Tout is very important strategically in Sydney, their presence in the Brisbane and Melbourne markets isn’t so significant, so I think on balance we thought it was a better strategic move to go with HWL brand,” Martinez said.