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Clydes Seals Double Australia Launch With Team Hire From Allens
Clyde & Co. is launching in Sydney and Perth with the hire of an eight-strong team from Linklaters ally Allens, becoming the latest in a stream of U.K. firms to target the Australia market.
The firm will open the two new offices on Oct. 1 this year after the deal received partner backing at Clydes' annual conference at the close of last week.
The team includes Allens insurance and reinsurance head John Edmond, insurance partner Dean Carrigan and insurance consultant Oscar Shub in Sydney, alongside financial services and insurance litigation partner Jenny Thornton in Perth.
The quartet will remain in Australia to launch the new offices, which will focus on contentious work in the insurance and reinsurance sector.
Elsewhere, Allens Hong Kong dispute resolution head Simon McConnell and disputes partner Mun Yeow are joining Clydes' existing base in the region, with Singapore disputes head Matthew Skinner and corporate senior associate Ian Stewart moving to Clydes' local office.
All eight hires are joining as partners. Both Edmond and Skinner trained at Clydes before later moving to Allens, while Shub has previously spent time on secondment at the U.K. firm.
Clydes management board partner James Burns said: "Australia has been a jurisdiction that we've been looking at for some time, but as always, the key driver for us was the need to find the right people to work with. Our relationship with this team stretches back a number of years and in addition, the industry and client synergies between our practices are a perfect fit.
"The model we are pursuing in Australia is very similar to our strategy in the U.S.: a relatively small initial offering, with the aim of growing the platform when the need arises. This move will undoubtedly enhance our ability to provide our clients with high quality legal advice across the Asia-Pacific region."
For Allens, the exits come after the Australian firm entered into an exclusive alliance with Linklaters in May this year, a deal which saw it rebrand from its former identity of Allens Arthur Robinson. The tie-up will see the firms team up on joint client pitches, share resources and cooperate in recruitment and training, although the pair will maintain separate profit pools.
In a statement, Allens said that it will now focus its insurance practice on "high-end corporate and strategic litigation work."
Chief executive partner Michael Rose said: "Before we entered our alliance with Linklaters, we made the conscious decision to exit our insurance practice in Asia -- the departure of a number of partners to Clyde & Co is the natural outworking of that. We have taken the opportunity to strategically shift our insurance practice to align more closely with Linklaters' global practice, which focuses on insurance sector corporates and high-end corporate and litigation work."
The news follows an expansive year for Clydes which has seen the firm boost its total office count to 29, after merging with Canada's Nicholl Paskell-Mede in June 2011 and Barlow Lyde & Gilbert in November last year.
A raft of U.K. firms have opened in Australia in recent years, including Norton Rose, Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy, while Herbert Smith last week confirmed that it is set to merge with Freehills as of Oct. 1.