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Norton Rose Fulbright takes over Aus firm and lines up US target
16 June 2017
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Partners at Norton Rose Fulbright and at Australian firm Henry Davis York have agreed on a merger deal.

Norton Rose Fulbright launched in Australia in 2010 when it merged with Australian firm Deacons. It currently has over 3,800 lawyers worldwide including more than 600 lawyers in its Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth offices. Henry Davis York is a microbe by comparison, with just 45 partners and 134 lawyers based in Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra. To reflect the nature of the combination, the name of the new firm will be Norton Rose Fulbright as HDY is duly swallowed. When the merger goes live later this year, NRF will become the second largest firm in Australia based on partner headcount (160 partners).

Wayne Spanner, NRF managing partner in Australia said "we have admired for some time the way Henry Davis York conducts its business, and we couldn't be happier that our two firms wish to come together".

How the merger will work: Henry Davis York (right) meet Norton Rose Fulbright (left)

NRF has been looking to expand over the last year. It combined with Canadian firm Bull Housser in September and has been trying to finalise a merger with Chadbourne & Parke to build on its presence in North America. However, the US deal has stalled. Chief executive Peter Martyr said that a few "material conflicts" have been identified with Chadbourne & Parke that they are "working to resolve". Should the deal go ahead, NRF will be hoping that an internal feud at the US firm is sorted out in time for the welcome party.


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anonymous user
19/06/2017 11:00
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Deacons was not an Australian firm, it is a Hong Kong firm - the Australian arm was demerged on their merger with NR.
anonymous user
20/06/2017 05:43
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Both firms have struggled in the past 2 years. NRF has confronted a very large partner exodus and dwindling profits; HDY just laid off 30 staff. Rumour has it HDY's agreement to the merger is contingent on no further key NRF partner resignations. It's also likely that if the merger fails, NRF 's London head office will cut the Australian firm loose. Watch this space.

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