PHILLIPS FOX has announced the firm’s decision to enter into an exclusive alliance with one of the largest legal services organisations in the world, DLA Rudnick Gray Cary.
The firm is the first Australian law firm to go into business with an international giant in the legal services industry, Phillips Fox said. From September it will integrate into the DLA Piper Group and will change its name to DLA Phillips Fox.
In an interview with Lawyers Weekly, Phillips Fox chief executive Tony Crawford said the union is the culmination of a relationship that has existed between DLA Piper and the firm for the past five years. It is expected to give Phillips Fox increased billings and better access to an international pool of clients.
“This step is a natural progression of that [relationship] — a response to the globalisation of business,” Crawford said. “What we did there was the best response possible for a major Australia, New Zealand law firm.
The relationship began with Phillips Fox’s involvement in a commercial transaction in which DLA Piper was on the other side, said Crawford. “So impressed were they with our performance that they started a relationship that has over time seen an increasing amount of referral work coming our way, and more recently from us to them.”
Three years ago, the firms entered into an informal “best friends” relationship. “This is really a natural progression of a strengthening of that relationship in the context of an exclusive alliance,” said Crawford.
The alliance will also give Phillips Fox’s existing clients access to international legal support in an increasingly global marketplace, he said. “There is a legal services market that is developing globally at an unprecedented rate. Our wish in terms of the response to that trend is to ensure our local clients, who have international legal needs, have the best representation possible.”
The deal provides Phillips Fox with a platform for expansion into the Asian region. The two firms will collaborate on client opportunities, with a focus on Australia and New Zealand and parts of the Asia Pacific region. Opportunities for collaborating on projects in Asia will grow over time, said Crawford.
The global reach that the alliance affords Phillips Fox is seen as a material advantage for the firm “in the eyes of any number of potential clients”, Crawford said.
“It presents itself at a time when the globalisation of business is going at an unprecedented rate. The opportunity to link up with the second largest law firm in the world is just fantastic. We’re very excited by it and that we will end up with this impressive organisation is something that will give us very real impetus in the marketplace in Australia and New Zealand.”
The deal is expected to give DLA Piper, an organisation with over 3,100 lawyers and 1,000 partners globally, increased access to the Australian market, fulfilling their “vision” to be the “leading global business law firm, to make sure they have the best possible coverage in Australia and New Zealand”, said Crawford.
The international firm will gain access to Phillips Fox’s pool of more than 700 lawyers throughout Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam. DLA Piper already has offices in Asia, including in Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo.