Norton Rose Fulbright to Merge with Henry Davis York
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Summary: Norton Rose Fulbright and Australia’s Henry Davis York will merge in the upcoming future. 

BigLaw firm, Norton Rose Fulbright, will merge with Henry Davis York of Australia. The joint statement released today comes after a reported six months of negotiations.


According to the joint statement, the two law firms’ partners voted in “overwhelming majority” favor for the merger. The new firm will become the second largest international law firm in Australia, based on the partner headcount of 160.

“The addition of Henry Davis York will give us the critical mass we need in Australia to take full advantage of the steps already underway, at a global level, to modernize our business through the implementation of our 2020 business transformation strategy,” Norton Rose Fulbright’s global chief executive Peter Martyr said. “This combination will allow us to bring the benefits of this transformation to more clients.”

The date of the merger has not been announced, but the combined firms’ name will be Norton Rose Fulbright.

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According to Legal Check, this is Norton Rose Fulbright’s third merger in less than a year. In September, it acquired Bull Housser of Canada and a few months later it agreed to merge with United States’ juggernaut, Chadbourne & Parke.

Norton Rose Fulbright was founded in 1919 and has more than 3,800 lawyers and other legal staff based in over 50 cities across Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, according to Lawcrossing.

Henry Davis York is the smaller of the two firms. According to Legal Check, the Australian firm has 45 partners, 71 senior associates, and 63 lawyers; and offices in Canberra, Brisbane, and Sydney. It is well known for its banking and insolvency practices.

Michael Greene, Henry Davis York’s managing partner, told Legal check that the firm was proud of the upcoming merger.

“The partners and I have been considering for some time how we could take a proud and respected Australian law firm and re-engineer it for the future,” Greene said. “After consulting with our clients, we felt the time was right to look to join forces with an elite global law firm to continue to provide them with an even greater level of service and industry expertise.”

Australian Financial Review said that “the decision to merge signals one of the most significant combinations the professional legal services market will have seen for four years. The merger will catapult the combined law firm into the top five in Australia by size.” The publication spoke to Norton Rose Fulbright managing partner in Australia, Wayne Spanner, who said that the market was ready for consolidation.

“We see that the Australian legal market is ripe for the next phase of consolidation and we are satisfied that this combination will bring us another first-mover advantage that will significantly strengthen our brand and footprint in the market,” Spanner said.

Photo courtesy of The Lawyer 

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