Local firm Webb Henderson has been named as a finalist in the Legal Adviser of the Year category in the TMT World Awards 2014, which will take place in London in November.
The firm, which has offices in Auckland, Sydney and Singapore, is up against UK and US legal biggies in the category, including Clifford Chance, CMS Cameron McKenna, Herbert Smith Freehills, Latham & Watkins and Linklaters.
Webb Henderson partner Malcolm Webb told NZ Lawyer
that being a finalist in the awards is significant considering they take place outside of the firm’s home markets of New Zealand and Australia.
“The shortlisting for this award recognises the work we’ve done in the rest of the world in the TMT sector,” he says. “To have an Australasian firm on the same list as large international players…it’s nice to have a little guy recognised alongside them.”
Outside of the New Zealand and Australian domestic markets, Webb Henderson specialises predominantly in technology, media & telecommunications, and it’s been involved in a number of significant and high profile cases.
With a major focus on the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions, Webb says the firm has been successful in picking up some of the world’s largest TMT operators as clients.
More recently this includes Ooredoo, a Middle-Eastern based telecommunications operator listed on the Qatar Exchange, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.
It has a market capitalisation of over US$10 billion and reported 2012 revenues of US$9.3 billion, says Webb.
“It’s an enormous company and we advised them in their entry into the Myanmar market in Asia… It’s one of the biggest new large telecommunications projects in the world at the moment.”
Ooredoo will be putting up to a massive US$15 billion total investment into Myanmar, he says.
Not bad considering that Webb Henderson is still a young firm that’s only been around for about five years, and has 25 lawyers working across its offices.
Webb says it’s been interesting that the firm has been winning contracts to service the Middle Eastern market out of Australasia.
“It’s an example of how we can succeed in places where our competitors have on-the-ground people and we don’t…
“We’ve got a concentrated focus on the sector, and the people involved in it have been doing it for a long time, so we have a market reputation and capability that is hard to replicate.”
But it’s not just abroad where Webb Henderson is proving a success story. The firm is also a finalist in major awards closer to home, appearing in four categories
of the New Zealand Law Awards, which will be held on November 6 at Auckland’s Pullman Hotel.
Webb says because the firm has a different focus in the Kiwi market, to be nominated at home as well is extra special and a confirmation that it’s doing an all-round good job.
“Our pure domestic practice covers a wide range of corporate and commercial matters – we tend to have a broader scope,” he says.
“I think the [New Zealand Law] Awards are coming of age. They’ve gained a lot of credibility and the winners can be justifiably proud of their achievements.”
Looking to the future, the partner says the Webb Henderson’s primary focus will be on ensuring the firm continues to operate at the top of its game.
“Expansion may occur, but our highest priority is the continuation of what we feel has been a really successful business.”