International firm “actively looking” at NZ legal market

by Kathryn Crossley11 Feb 2015
The Australian managing partner of an international law firm has flagged New Zealand as a potential destination for his firm.

Clyde & Co Australia managing partner John Edmond told Australasian Lawyer magazine that a foray into New Zealand may also be on the cards.

“I certainly don’t discount New Zealand,” he said. “We pitch for specific tasks for global clients, and we pitch for new tenders for global clients, and they consistently want to know about Australasian law. A frequent question we get is assuming Australasian law is identical to New Zealand. Obviously the answer is no, and so we often partner up with someone and pitch because there are very few firms that genuinely offer both,” he explained.

“We are actively looking at some possibilities there,” Edmond said, but quickly added that the firm is not in talks with anyone at the moment.

The move would follow a successful few years for the firm in the Australian legal market. In 2012, Clyde & Co made its Australian debut with a small team of lawyers working in offices in Sydney and Perth, predominantly on insurance litigation. Since that time it has added another two locations – Melbourne and Brisbane – and now boasts more than 100 staff.

Rather than taking over a local firm, Clyde & Co has expanded its Australian presence by hiring teams of lawyers from other firms.

“We don’t tend to take over a law firm and then keep the pieces we really want and let the others leave or die on the vine. That seems to us to be a really expensive, low morale, difficult way to move into new territory,” Edmond said of the firm’s approach to entering new markets.

“No one is under the Clyde & Co firm name by accident; everyone has chosen to be here, and I think that’s the most positive environment that you could possibly engender,” he said.