ALM Properties, Inc.
Page printed from: International News
Select 'Print' in your browser menu to print this document.
Herbert Smith and Freehills to Vote in June on Tie-Up; Weil Rethinks Referral Links
Partners at Herbert Smith and Australia's Freehills are set to vote on the firms' potential tie-up next month, with the pair planning for an Oct. 1 integration date.
The firms are expected to vote simultaneously on the deal in the second half of June, with the union set to go live four months later.
Initially the two firms will be financially independent, although the intention is to merge in the longer term, but this could require a separate partner vote further down the line.
The deal, which appears similar in structure to Ashurst's tie-up with Australia's Blake Dawson, is understood to be less popular with partners in Herbert Smith's London headquarters than with those in Asia, although partners are expected to grant it the 75 percent majority required to go ahead.
The union was initially planned to go live on July 1, tying it in with the Australian firm's financial year end. However, this has been pushed back due to the complexities of working out the deal.
Herbert Smith's proposed deal with Freehills has prompted Weil Gotshal & Manges to reconsider its referral relationship with the Australian firm. The New York-based firm has operated a semi-formal relationship with Freehills for a number of years, with Freehills' corporate partner Jim Theodore based in the U.S. firm's Manhattan office alongside one associate since 2010.
New York corporate partner Fred Green is leading the review, which is expected to result in the agreement being terminated.
One Weil partner told Legal Week: "The truth is that we cannot refer work to a firm such as Herbert Smith because it is a major competitor in Europe and Asia. We have to contemplate other ways of accessing the Australian market -- we are more exposed to it than most U.S. firms."