Gilbert + Tobin and Blakiston & Crabb have announced a formal merger under the G+T banner. The firms entered into an associated firm agreement last year, on the understanding that full integration would follow if the arrangement was mutually satisfactory.
Well known Perth lawyer Michael Blakiston joins G+T as a senior equity partner. Out of the eight existing Blakiston & Crabb lawyers, five will become equity partners, two will become salaried partners while an eighth, Romanie Hollingworth, has opted to join local rival Jackson McDonald.
Once considered a choice target for a national or international firm merger, Gilbert + Tobin now has over 60 partners and there is a perception that the firm would now be too large for such a merger, a point which was conceded by managing partner Danny Gilbert. “That’s probably right,” he said. “I think we’re a little too large, but we’re not here to hang our strategy so we are ideally placed for a global law firm, a marriage that might not happen and, even if it was available, we might not want. We have to do what we think is the right thing.”
However, Gilbert went on to emphasise that a merger was not completely impossible. “We’re still much smaller than the others – for example, you hear rumours about Blakes and others – well we’re still much smaller than Blakes and Corrs and those firms. We never say never. We’re happy to be on our own; to be a strong independent firm but if the right offer came along we’d take a look at it.”
Despite a strong interest in the resources market, Gilbert says that the firm has no current plans for Brisbane. “We haven’t had a look at that market at all - it looks pretty well serviced,” he said. “We don’t have any current plans. You can’t do everything at once. We’re not long in Melbourne; we established this relationship with Blakiston a year ago and we’ve been building that up – we’ll play it by ear. We’re not rabid expansionists.”
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