Australian firms steadfast in face of consolidation

Author: | Published: 1 Jan 2000

The professional services firms are eyeing up targets and London and New York firms are on their way. But Australia's lawyers are not cowering in the corner. They are just getting on with innovative deals. Ralph Cunningham reports

Lawyers in Sydney and Melbourne are under no illusion. They live in a vast continent. They have sky-high reputations wherever they are found throughout the world. And they are doing some cutting-edge work. But less than 20 million people live there, and international clients don't want deals documented according to the law in Victoria or New South Wales. The Australians know all this.

Though four of the biggest 30 firms worldwide are Australian — Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Blake Dawson Waldron, Minter Ellison and Freehill Hollingdale & Page — Australia's lawyers know they cannot compete with globetrotting firms from London and New York. Some even question why the global ambitions of London and New York firms include Australia...