Norton Rose Fulbright’s merger with Aussie law firm Henry Davis York given go-ahead following successful partner vote

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Official go-live date remains unknown

A merger between global giant Norton Rose Fulbright and Australian outfit Henry Davis York has been given the green light.

In a joint statement released today, the duo revealed that partners on both sides of the equator had voted “overwhelming” in favour of the combination. The new outfit — which will become the second largest global law firm in Australia by partner headcount (160) — will be known as *drum roll* Norton Rose Fulbright. An official tie-up date remains unknown but is likely to be sometime later this year.

Today’s announcement marks Norton Rose Fulbright’s third merger deal in under a year. Rapidly expanding its global footprint, the firm swallowed up Canadian outfit Bull Housser back in September. Several months later and it agreed to merge with US law firm Chadbourne & Parke. Legal Cheek understand this is due to go live in the coming months.

Commenting on its latest tie-up, Norton Rose Fulbright’s global chief executive, Peter Martyr, said:

The addition of Henry Davis York will give us the critical mass we need in Australia to take full advantage of the steps already underway, at a global level, to modernise our business through the implementation of our 2020 business transformation strategy. This combination will allow us to bring the benefits of this transformation to more clients.

Norton Rose Fulbright is the larger of the two outfits by quite some margin. Legal Cheek’s Most List shows that the firm — which offers around 50 London training contracts annually — has over 3,500 lawyers and support staff across 54 offices in 29 different countries, including four in Australia. It scored well in our Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey, bagging A*s for office environment and international secondment opportunities. Its full scorecard can be viewed here.

Down under, Henry Davis York — which has just 45 partners, 71 senior associates and 63 lawyers — is considered a full service law firm with offices in Canberra, Brisbane and Sydney. The firm’s managing partner, Michael Greene, commented:

The partners and I have been considering for some time how we could take a proud and respected Australian law firm and re-engineer it for the future. After consulting with our clients, we felt the time was right to look to join forces with an elite global law firm to continue to provide them with an even greater level of service and industry expertise.

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This firm will be gigantic.


Nice try

CMS has more offices



What clients will they be advising in that wasteland? Kangaroos?



Well of course. Kangaroo law is a highly complex area.



Henry Davis York is a complete no-body even down in Oz.

No idea what are NRF thinking.



NRF is a complete nobody, even down in Oz.

No idea what HDY are thinking.



You’re making it sound like HDY are known in Oz. A middling, second-rate outfit at best.

NRF is a global powerhouse.


Slow roll

I once had an incredibly hot Thai. Curry.


Never forget you're now called Womble.

Boring. Aussie firm needed to be called Clanger & Flumps to pique my interest.



Well, the Aus managing partner is Wayne Spooner. Apparently NRF does things slightly differently – they do canoeing.



Spooner planning a hostile takeover of ?



NRF has so much control! Love my future firm!



Ugh, I hope this is a troll



KWM Europe?


Sherlock Holmes

The comments coming out of the Australian legal press seem positive….



NRF’s OZ office has been the basket case of the global firm for several years now. Dwindling profits and about 30-40 partners have jumped ship in the past 2 years. Merging with a failing mid tier which just laid off 30 staff isn’t going to fix things anytime soon. It’s a desperate move – 2 drowning men clutching each other…



This is on the money.


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