Yesterday (4 May) Corrs announced new chair and co-chair positions for its international business groups.
The new appointees are Clare Corke (Africa), Stephen Stern (Europe), Alan Churley and David Yates (Middle East), James Whittaker (North America), Christian Owen (South America) and Phil Catania and Rod Dann (UK).
These partners will sit alongside chairs for China, India, Japan, Korea and South-East Asia.
Corrs CEO John Denton (pictured) told Lawyers Weekly the international network of 45 firms is taking market share from global competitors.
“Globalisation in the contemporary world is about connectedness [and] we aim to be the most globally connected law firm based in Australia,” Mr Denton said.
Rather than launching overseas offices or merging with a global firm, Corrs’ strategy has been to establish relationships with foreign firms.
This approach has increased the proportion of international clients in Corrs’ corporate client base to almost 40 per cent, according to Mr Denton.
He credited inbound referrals and growing brand awareness in North America, the UK and Europe, the Middle East and Asia for the growth.
He also highlighted the firm’s secondment and scholarship programs with overseas clients.
Corrs has over 20 international secondment opportunities in more than 15 countries, with the aim of 30 by the end of the year.
A different tack
Corrs has remained staunchly independent as its national rivals, such as Mallesons and Middletons, tied the knot with global firms.
Mr Denton said Corrs has no plans to change its strategy: “[There is] absolutely no global merger on the cards.”
He added that Corrs’ approach to globalising its practice ensures the firm is “uncompromised by the dictates of head office in another country”.
“We can assure our clients that they are not at the mercy of the conflict decisions, resource and team allocations common in other global models.”
Mr Denton added that Corrs retains control of the work being performed by its foreign partners, with Australian lawyers acting as project managers for matters conducted overseas.
Note: This article originally stated that Corrs has about 30 lawyers on secondment in more than 15 countries. Corrs has clarified it has over 20 international secondment opportunities in more than 15 countries, with the aim of 30 by the end of the year.