DETERMINED TO focus its attention on Asia, law firm Blake Dawson Waldron (BDW) has confirmed it will close its London office at the end of November this year.
The shocking move follows a review of the firm’s international operations that revealed an office in England’s capital is not essential to service European and UK based clients. Instead, said managing partner John Atkin, what are predominantly banking and finance and corporate clients in the UK will work directly with the firm’s Australian offices. “Giant leaps” in technology have made this possible, he said.
As a result of technological improvements, “UK and Europe-based clients are assured of direct access to the firm’s expertise across all practice areas”, said Atkin.
“The decision to close our London office will therefore have no impact on the firm’s continued provision of high quality Australian legal advice for our UK and Europe-based clients,” he said.
The closure of the office is not a massive sidestep from what was originally planned for the firm, said Atkin. The firm never intended to be a provider of local legal services in the UK, or on building significant local capability in London.
Asia has been the real focus, Atkin said, “we are making these changes in response to an increasingly sophisticated and complex legal services market in Asia”.
BDW has recently strengthened its practice in China with the appointment of senior partner, Justin Shmith to the Shanghai office. The firm has also boosted its Indonesian presence with the appointment of resources lawyer, James Donoghue, to its associated office in Jakarta, Soebagjo Jatim and Djarot. The firm’s North Asia practice has also acquired two new partners, Bob Seidler and Michael Ryland, late last year.