1 March 2012 was a significant day for both Blake Dawson and Mallesons Stephen Jacques, both of which formally merged with their international partners and gave up their names in the process.

Blake Dawson is no more, as its tie-up with UK firm Ashurst became effective. Henceforth to be known as Ashurst (or Ass-hurts, if its occasional UK moniker is embraced), the Australian firm is now part of an international law firm empire. It will be another two years until full financial integration but the firms' Asian operations were combined on 1 March and Ashurst now boasts 150 lawyers in Asia spread across offices in China, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan and Papua New Guinea.

    The launch of the new King & Wood Malleson firm uniform yesterday

1 March was also the date chosen by Mallesons and Chinese firm King & Wood to cement their merger, becoming 380 partner behemoth King & Wood Mallesons. This was announced this with much fanfare: adverts illustrated by hover-craft, new branding that looks to have been inspired by the Olympic logo and pictures of the two managing partners holding hands in what appears to be the new firm uniform of identical suit and tie combos.

The new firm will not be financially integrated, as Chinese law forbids this. Instead it will adopt a Swiss verein structure. Neither will the firms' systems be shared as Chinese law means that lawyers at domestic firms are obliged to hand over any documents that the Chinese Communist Party may request. Unsurprisingly Mallesons partners were not very keen on this and so the firms' files will be kept resolutely separate.
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