Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright has confirmed it is in late-stage merger talks with Australian firm Henry Davis York.

The firms were first rumored to be holding discussions in November last year.

“Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright and leading Australian law firm Henry Davis York are exploring a potential combination to create one of the largest providers of legal services in the Australian market, with leading positions in key industry sectors and practices,” the two firms said in a joint statement.

Partners at both firms will vote on the proposed merger this summer.

Henry Davis York has offices in Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney. The firm consists of 45 partners, 71 special counsel or senior associates and 63 lawyers. It is a full-service firm with a focus on the financial services, government, infrastructure, health care and university sectors.

Norton Rose Fulbright has more than 600 lawyers in Australia based in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, a legacy of its 2010 merger with Australian firm Deacons.

The Deacons merger was followed by a 2011 tie-up with Canada’s Ogilvy Renault and leading South African firm Deneys Reitz, as well as the absorption of Calgary-based Macleod Dixon on Jan. 1, 2012. In mid-2013, Norton Rose Fulbright officially went live following the completion of a union with Houston-based Am Law 100 firm Fulbright & Jaworski.

Norton Rose Fulbright, whose global expansion plans were profiled by The American Lawyer in a 2011 feature story, has continued to expand. Late last year the firm announced another combination in Canada with Vancouver-based Bull, Housser & Tupper and in February, Norton Rose Fulbright confirmed plans to combine with Chadbourne & Parke later this year.

Sources close to Chadbourne claim it had approached other firms such as Baker McKenzie, DLA Piper and Hogan Lovells to discuss merger options during the past year, before agreeing to its deal with Norton Rose Fulbright. Chadbourne has seen a stream of partner exits in recent months, including a team of energy and finance partners who joined Covington & Burling in late April.

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