AS INTERNATIONAL law firm Coudert Brothers crumbles, law firms across the world have benefited from the demise of the beleaguered firm. Corrs Chambers Westgarth was last week among the first to make some high profile gains.
While still tight lipped about where all its Australian partners and lawyers will be going, Coudert Brothers has confirmed that managing partner Michelle Harpur, with property partners Peter Calov and Justin Adam, would soon be joining Corrs. The move quashes market suggestions that the property team would move to rival Phillips Fox.
The partners were attracted to Corrs because it is “a firm on the move”, they announced.
“We are looking forward to contributing to Corrs’ ongoing success and extending to our clients an improved depth and breadth of expertise that a firm like Corrs will provide,” the partners said.
Legal recruiter Naiman Clarke director Elvira Naiman said that it is now a case of “watch this space” with the remaining Coudert partners. Offers have been made by firms across the country, she said, and it is now likely that “things are going to happen sooner rather than later”.
“There are a couple of contenders, but it is likely to be entire groups moving [from Coudert] rather than individuals. In the fallout there will be a couple of firms that will get a bulk of the partners and lawyers remaining,” Naiman said. She added, however, that a small number of lawyers and partners would also go their own way.
Corrs partner and chief executive officer, John Denton, said he was pleased to take on the three new partners, adding that they brought “depth and experience and extensive track records” to the firm’s property and litigation teams.
“These appointments reinforce the fact that Corrs is a growing and successful firm that attracts some of the best talent in the legal profession,” Denton said.
Harpur has more than 19 years’ experience in commercial litigation and corporate insolvency. A partner since 1992, she was only recently appointed managing partner of Coudert Brothers’ Australian practice.
At Coudert, Calov has represented major Australian developers. He is a leading legal practitioner in property development, including titles structuring.
Adam, formerly at Coudert Brothers’ Sydney office, has experience in commercial property development, commercial property transactions and finance.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has also announced that it has reached an agreement over the transfer to Orrick of all of Coudert’s China practice in Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a substantial portion of the practice in Beijing.
The transfer by Coudert to Orrick of this practice is part of Coudert Brothers’ plan to seek combinations for its offices and practices with other firms on a worldwide basis, the firm said.
Orrick expects to admit to its firm from Coudert six partners in Hong Kong, one partner in Shanghai and two partners in Beijing, with a total complement of approximately 40 lawyers in China, the firm said in a statement.
“The partners of Coudert have authorised the firm to enter into combinations of offices and practice groups with other firms to reflect the strength of the firm,” said chairman of Coudert Brothers, Clyde E Rankin III. “Such combinations will be done in an orderly process, and this transfer to Orrick is an example of how we are implementing this plan,” he said.
DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary has also taken a slice of the Coudert pie, last week taking a team of 11 lawyers to launch in Frankfurt. The firm has taken five partners and six supporting lawyers from Coudert’s Frankfurt office. The new appointments include Coudert’s local managing partner and head of European employment, Michael Magotsch.