THE SYMBOLISM cannot be ignored; HWL Ebsworth Lawyers have sent a strong message of unity in their branding of the merged entity. HWL Ebsworth will formally operate as a combined firm from 5 May this year.
At the time of the merger announcement in February 2008, managing partner Juan Martinez told Lawyers Weekly the new look firm would operate under one name.
“Obviously these things take a lot of market consideration, and one of the implementation is to make a final decision on the name after finishing our market evaluation, but there will be one name, and it will be one name that involves both names,” he said.
True to his word, both firms have equal prominence on the new entity’s masthead. Martinez described the logo as the “final seal” on the deal, following extensive due diligence, consultation and negotiation over “what is best for both firms”.
The outcome is perhaps unexpected by industry pundits given the absorption of Abbott Tout into HWL after its acquisition in 2007. However, an important factoring the HWL Ebsworth relationship is the long-standing friendship between the two managing partners.
John Graves, who was managing partner Ebsworth & Ebsworth, believes this is reflected in the strong cultural fit between the two firms.
“I think when we first started this in detail, we looked at our basic precepts, our basic core values as two firms, and [recognised] they are so similar,” Graves said.
“The issues of innovation, excellence, integrity, honesty and maintaining open relationships with our clients are all so clearly prevalent in the way both firms carry on, that we were very confident that the cultural things would … come up trumps and show us that those values were carried through both firms,” he said.
The combined firm will practice under the trading name HWL Ebsworth Lawyers (HWL Ebsworth) and will operate in Brisbane, Melbourne, Norwest Business Park and Sydney. HWL Ebsworth will increase in size to in excess of 500 staff nationally, with a total of 101 partners and 210 professional staff across all offices.