One of the key drivers of the merger between Norton Rose and Deacons Australia was the commitment of the latter to resourcing Norton Rose’s Asian expansion over the medium-to-long-term. Norton Rose has already announced the relocation of Melbourne’s dispute resolution head Peter Cash to its Singapore office and group deputy chief executive Don Boyd said up to 15 more partners and senior associates will leave Australia for Norton Rose’s Asian offices in the coming months.
“We’ve got quite significant growth plans for most places but particularly Hong Kong, Tokyo and our China offices in Beijing and Shanghai,” Boyd said. “Our plans are to grow and we have already moved some of our people into Asia.”
The Asian expansion strategy was critical to the business case for the Norton Rose-Deacons merger as it provided the London firm with a way to add high-quality, low-cost lawyers to its 170-strong team already working in the firm’s Asia offices.
“To just set up in Australia to tap into the Australian market doesn’t really make a business case because this is a massively competitive environment. The business case revolves around resourcing Asia with Australians,” Boyd said. “It is a much more costly exercise to take someone from London and send them out to Asia than it is to do so from here.”
As well as the cost benefits involved in sending Australian lawyers rather than their London counterparts to Asia, Boyd said that Norton Rose sees Australia as good place to find lawyers that have a good education and are used to working in a large-firm environment.
Norton Rose Australia has already adapted its recruitment strategy to reflect its role as feeder to Norton Rose’s Asian operations. The firm is targeting lawyers and other staff who are interested in relocating to Asia as well as students who are studying in Australia but wish to repatriate to practice law.
Norton Rose Asia-Pacific offices
|Ho Chi Minh City
Norton Rose makes move on dispute-resolution market in Asia-Pacific
ALB Watchlist 2010