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Sydney firm evades 'rash of mergers'

Sydney firm evades 'rash of mergers'

A Sydney-based law firm has sidestepped the recent wave of Australian law firms merging with major international counterparts by forging a link with a major European firm.

A Sydney-based law firm has sidestepped the recent wave of Australian law firms merging with major international counterparts by forging a link with a major European firm. 


Truman Hoyle has announced a best friends relationship with Europe’s Vogel & Vogel, a competition law firm in France, with offices in Paris, Brussels and Frankfurt.


The Vogel & Vogel best friends network has 46 law firms in its grip, with Truman Hoyle the only Australian firm.


Shane Barber, managing partner of Truman Hoyle, said the arrangement will allow local clients access to global expertise from firms which have all been hand-picked for their speciality, their approach to the law and their proven capability. 


Barber said the approach is a "refreshing alternative to the rash of mergers and acquisitions currently sweeping through Australian law firms – some of which were being raced through as mid-sized law firms scurried almost as though they were afraid of being left out from the current M&A mania".


He argues some of the recent mergers led to the lawyer-client relationship being compromised by the expectations of juggernaut global law firms.


The deal will hand Vogel & Vogel access to specialist legal skills in Australia.


Vogel & Vogel, a competition specialist with particular experience in technology intensive manufacturing, comprises two founding partners, six senior managers and 24 legal advocates. Truman Hoyle is similarly scaled, comprising 10 partners and 20 lawyers, and focuses on companies operating in the new economy.


“Our firms have a very similar culture; we are both specialist firms with a similar firm model that encourages particularly close relationships between senior lawyers and clients,” said Barber. 


He said Vogel & Vogel’s model allows it to forge non-exclusive alliances with like-minded law firms around the world, which it can rely on to support the global ambitions of all clients of the network.


He said that the “best friends” arrangement was also more meaningful to clients than simply signing up to some international club of lawyers because the members of the Vogel & Vogel best friends alliance had all been hand-picked for their similar approach and specialist focus.


“This is a far more sophisticated way of extending a global legal network,” said Barber. He said the structure allowed participants to remain nimble and responsive to changing market conditions, but did not compromise the independence of individual firms.


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