In contrast to the majority of the top 25 of the Legal Business 100, DWF has been a latecomer to well-served international markets but it has nonetheless continued its rapid international push by securing an exclusive association with a six-partner outfit in another market long familiar with English arrivals – Australia. The deal, which the firm says ‘will shortly lead to merger’, follows its launch in Singapore in June.
As part of the deal, DWF will take on six partners and 20 associates based in Melbourne and Brisbane specialising in insurance, occupational health and safety and industrial relations as well as a commercial practice focused mainly on the construction, hospitality and real estate sectors. The practice, which was originally formed eight years ago as boutique insurance firm MVM Legal, is run by partners Jamie McPherson and Damien van Brunschot and prior to the deal traded as part of the international network of firms Kaden Boriss.
Commenting on the deal Andrew Leaitherland, managing partner and CEO of DWF, said that Australia was an influential and integral part of Asia’s growing economic and political influence and core to DWF’s strategy. ‘We already have a strong foothold in the region, and the time is right to build on that as part of a wider Asia-Pacific strategy.’
The move in Australia is further evidence of DWF’s recent aggressive international expansion. In June the firm broke into Asia after taking on a four-lawyer Singapore team who were formerly at Eversheds Sutherland, and just a month later entered the South American legal market with new associations in Argentina, Panama and Columbia.
April saw DWF set up office in Berlin by hiring DLA Piper’s financial services partner Nina Siedler and real estate partner Irene Schmid alongside Wolfgang Richter, who joined DWF Germany following the firm’s 2016 merger with BridgehouseLaw.
In January, DWF opened a Paris office after acquiring four-partner local firm Heenan Paris as well as acquiring UK-based claims manager Triton out of administration. The buyout brought in Heenan’s expertise in corporate, private equity, commercial, intellectual property/IT and litigation.