U.K. firm Herbert Smith and Australian firm Freehills announced today that they would merge come October 1, 2012. In a joint press release, the two firms said that the merger would be a “full equity merger, with a single profit pool from day one.” The WSJ Law Blog has a post on the announcement and related trends.
At the helm of the new international firm will be Gavin Bell and David Willis, the current managing partners of Freehills and Herbert Smith respectively. Willis was “excited… about bringing together two pre-eminent law firms,” especially in a developing market that he believes will “become increasingly dominated by a small number of truly global firms” in the next couple of years. Bell similarly expressed the importance of becoming “the leading global law firm across Asia Pacific, a region likely to see continued substantial growth and to become an increasingly important part of the global legal services market.”
After regulatory approval, Herbert Smith Freehills will have 2,800 lawyers, 460 global partners, and 20 offices spanning three continents. Both Herbert Smith and Freehills are currently large commercial firms that have accumulated great influence in advising large corporations.