KW Mallesons, Ashurst officially open for business in Australia
By Renu Prasad
Thursday, 1 March 2012
Today marks the "go live" date for the two most recent international law firm mergers, King & Wood Mallesons and Ashurst.
King & Wood Mallesons is a Swiss Verein entity comprising the partnerships of Mallesons Stephen Jaques, China-based King & Wood and a third entity which represents the combined partnerships of both firms in Hong Kong. A formal decision is yet to be made on the full financial integration of the entities, although sources have indicated that full integration within the next three years is an "aspirational goal."
Today also marks the official demise of the Blake Dawson brand in favour of Ashurst and the full integration of the firms' Asia practices. Full financial integration of the remainder of the firm will be put to a partnership vote in 2014.
In contrast to China and Australia-centric King & Wood Mallesons, Ashurst has more of a European-based jurisdictional spread. The pre-merger Ashurst derived about 10 percent of its revenues from Asia while the corresponding figure at Blakes is about six percent. Blakes managing partner John Carrington said that the firms planned to invest further in Asia, but added that the importance of "old world" onomies such as Europe should not be underestimated. "There is no doubt that the growth rate of the Asia economies is going to surpass that of Europe and the UK, but [Europe and the UK] are still going to remain very important on a global basis," he said. "We want to be part of an international firm - not just a regional firm."