29 October – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Blake Dawson Waldron (BDW) will close its London office on 30 November 2005 and continue to focus its international strategy on building its Asia practice. The move to close the London office follows a review of the firm’s international operations which revealed that a physical presence in London is not essential for the ongoing provision of high quality legal services for our UK and Europe-based clients.
Managing partner John Atkin said that due to vastly improved communication channels between London and Australia and also because of the firm’s closer commercial links with the UK, increasingly, it has become less important for the firm to have an office in London.
“BDW has established very close ties with the banking and finance and corporate sectors in the UK and these clients are more frequently working directly with our Australian offices. Giant leaps in technology have also made it easier and more efficient to deal directly with clients in real time.
“As a result of these improvements and an expanded direct client contact program that provides a more flexible and targeted level of service, our UK and Europe-based clients are assured of direct access to the firm’s expertise across all practice areas whenever it’s required.
“The decision to close our London office will therefore have no impact on the firm’s continued provision of high quality Australian legal advice for our UK and Europe-based clients.”
Mr Atkin said that BDW had never planned on being a provider of local legal services in the UK, or on building a significant local capability in London. He said the firm’s international growth strategy is focussed on building a strong regional practice in Asia.
“It has always been our intention to build and expand our Asia practice. We are making these changes in response to an increasingly sophisticated and complex legal services market in Asia, and the need to be pro-active and flexible.”
BDW has recently strengthened its China practice with the appointment of senior partner, Justin Shmith to the Shanghai office. The firm has also boosted its Indonesian presence with the appointment of resources lawyer, James Donoghue, to its associated office in Jakarta, Soebagjo Jatim and Djarot.
The firm’s leading North Asia practice has also been strengthened recently with the appointment of two new partners, Bob Seidler and Michael Ryland late last year. Bob and Michael are highly regarded for their work with the Japanese business community in Australia and Japan and have significantly enhanced BDW’s Asian deal capability.
“Australia is increasingly integrating economically with its region. As a firm with its origins in Australia and one of the first to establish an Asia office, it is natural for us to be strengthening our regional capability,” said Mr Atkin.