find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
HWL merges with Ebsworth & Ebsworth

HWL merges with Ebsworth & Ebsworth

Ebsworth & Ebsworth and Home Wilkinson Lowry will merge and operate under a joint banner come May, creating what they hope will be the “significant pre-eminent player in the

Ebsworth & Ebsworth and Home Wilkinson Lowry will merge and operate under a joint banner come May, creating what they hope will be the “significant pre-eminent player in the mid tier”. The merger creates a firm with more than 550 staff, including approximately 100 partners.

“The fifth of May is the projected date [for the merger], but there’s scope in the agreement between the two firms for that to happen earlier if circumstances permit,” confirmed Juan Martinez, managing partner at HWL.

Negotiations for the merger came to light late last year, and follow the successful merger with Abbott Tout in April 2007. In a Lawyers Weekly interview in January 2007, Martinez foreshadowed the likelihood of an increasing number of similar mergers in the future.

“I think the interesting part is that it really shows where the legal market’s going — there’s going to be a consolidation of firms moving forward with more specific strategic focuses,” he said.

True to his word, Martinez has vigorously pursued the opportunity to merge with likeminded-firm Ebsworth & Ebsworth. “What looks like a very good opportunity has to be investigated to ensure there aren’t conflicts in relation to clients’ matters, to make sure that the synergies that were readily apparent are in fact [in existence].”

The past three months have been spent conducting due diligence; no small feat according to John Graves, managing partner of Ebsworth & Ebsworth.

“We’re talking about a merger of two firms of over 550 people and there are a lot of things that have to be looked at to ensure that we’re getting the right results for everyone. That’s what takes the time and of course Christmas doesn’t help; we had a lot of people very busy in December and January to achieve a very tight deadline.”

Graves said the merger has been achieved with minimal internal friction. “It is very rare to get two firms of our relative size joining and having so much opportunity to complement and add without much overlap at all,” he said. However, Ebsworths has experienced some emigration of talent in the months leading up to the merger, with several prominent partners leaving the firm.

Sources in the recruitment industry have told Lawyers Weekly they were reticent about placing talent at Ebsworths while the firm was in a state of flux. However, Martinez said his confidence had been bolstered by the Abbott Tout experience.

“I think that we’ve already had that with Abbott Tout. Whilst it in relative terms, it’s recent, everyone at HWL feels integrated, settled, and happy; we’ve had very little leakage in a tough market,” he said.

“To have achieved a merger of that magnitude at the time, it was one of the biggest deals that were done in the legal industry. To have done that in a tight market and to see better than market benchmark retention in a change environment, I think is fantastic. There’s no reason why that shouldn’t happen again.”

The firm will actively seek to recruit talent in the near future, according to Graves. “I think [the merger] presents a whole host of opportunities, particularly for talent that may be wanting a bit of a watershed change perhaps in approach and culture. They might have particular professional lifestyles at the moment, maybe even in the top-tier, and say ‘well, here’s a firm that got a quality and pre-eminent position in the mid-tier, but has a different cultural outlook and a different positioning to where I’ve been’,” Graves said. “This may be an opportunity for shift of professional lifestyle. I think that’s certainly something that should excite the market.”

Both managing partners expect the merger to deliver significant financial returns. “The firms as a combined entity will have significant upside and financial dividends out of this,” said Martinez.

Integration will be the next challenge for the merged entity. In stark contrast to the jettisoning of the Abbott Tout brand name, Martinez confirmed that the merged firms plan to operate under a joint banner that involves both brands.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

HWL merges with Ebsworth & Ebsworth
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...