Aussie Mid Tiers Merge

This report from the Lawyer turned up into our inbox this morning… staving off that Chinese / UK / USA acquisition ?

Australian mid-market firms, Thomsons Lawyers and Herbert Geer, are to merge to form the seventh largest independent firm in the country by number of lawyers.

The merged firm will be known as Thomson Geer, which will have 80 partners, more than 230 lawyers and annual revenue of A$120m (£65m). The merger is set to take effect on 31 March 2014.

The new firm, with a total of 500 staff across four offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, will be led by Thomsons Lawyers’ chief executive partner Adrian Tembel. Herbert Geer’s managing partner John Cain will take up an integration partner role at Thomson Geer, reporting to Tembel.

Under the merger arrangements, over 20 Herbert Geer partners will join Thomsons’ partnership, which operates a merit-based remuneration system. All staff of Herbert Geer have been offered to join the merged firm, while Thomsons will acquire the assets and client matters of Herbert Geer.

The merger with Melbourne-headquartered Herbert Geer will double the size of Thomsons’ Melbourne office and will bring strengths in telecommunications, wealth management and industrial relations practices to the merged firm.

“The merger will create a firm with more diversified practice groups and one that has more consistent and robust offerings nationally. It will be a more compelling partner for Asian, European and US firms that need to work with independent firms in Australia,” said Tembel.

“Over time it will also allow us to invest in our people and services in a way that wasn’t possible if we remained independent of each other,” added Cain.

“This is the beginning of our next phase of evolution, from the respected mid-market positions we now hold to a much more competitive national position. This puts us well on the way to achieving our longer term goal of independent institutional status,” Tembel added.

Tembel stressed that the firm has an independent strategy and will continue to build relationship with firms in the US and Europe. For example, the firm has been enjoying a close referral relationship with Eversheds for some years.

Tembel also hinted that Perth is on the firm’s next expansion plan. Although the firm will continue to grow in size, he emphasised that the number of partners shouldn’t exceed 100.