DLA Piper to Become World’s Largest Law Firm with Australian Merger
Posted Jan 27, 2011 8:41 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
DLA Piper is planning a merger with its Australian partner DLA Phillips Fox to become the world’s largest law firm.
The merger, targeted to take place May 1, is subject to a partnership vote, Bloomberg News reports. The two law firms had formed an exclusive alliance in 2006.
The merged law firm will have more than 4,000 lawyers, surpassing Baker & McKenzie. It takes place as mergers and acquisitions more than doubled in Australia last year. Robert Milliner, chief executive partner at Mallesons Stephen Jaques in Australia, told Bloomberg that “M&A is the big driver” luring foreign firms to his country.
DLA Piper says in a press release that Australia provides excellent opportunities because of its strong ties to some of the most rapidly growing economies in Asia. After the merger, DLA Piper's Asia managing director Alastair Da Costa will become managing director for the firm's entire Asia Pacific business.
DLA Piper CEO Nigel Knowles spoke to the Lawyer about the planned merger. “All our clients are looking at Australia. You cannot ignore it,” he said. “If you want to be the leading business firm you need to be in the G20 economies and the emerging markets. How can any business not be in Australia?”