Herbert Smith and Freehills vote for a full merger
29 June 2012
The partnerships of Herbert Smith
and Freehills have voted to press ahead with a full merger, with the newly-minted Anglo-Australian firm to be in operation from 1 October this year.
Herbert Smith had only just finished amending the office stationery to remove the names of Gleiss Lutz and Stibbe, the firm's old European partners who rejected its merger advances
late last year. Now it's back to the printers again as it formally becomes Herbert Smith Freehill (how did they come up with that?).
Unusually the firms are diving straight into a full on merger, rather than the more cautious "best friends with benefits" approach favoured by others. But while the firms will pool profits from the start, remuneration structures will be separate for the time being.
David Willis of Herbies and Gavin Bell of Freehills will jointly head up the new beast of a law firm, which will spread across 20 countries and boast 2,800 lawyers, making it the eighth largest law firm by headcount. And it hopes to pull in combined revenues of around £770m ($1.2bn).
||Gavin Bell and David Willis: a match made in heaven |
For Freehills, the merger will provide global presence and, according to Bell, give the firm the "platform to become the leading global law firm across Asia Pacific
". Meanwhile Herbies will get an Australian foothold, allowing it to tap into burgeoning resources work. Willis says the merger will "provide clients with the single global offering they increasingly demand
". Well, global if you don't count Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, the whole of South America or, errr, the USA. But otherwise, yes, completely global.
Meanwhile in non-merger news, LG and Field Fisher Waterhouse have called off merger discussions
, according to a Legal Week report
. Looks like FFW lawyers will have to put up with the firm's grim offices for a while yet.