The summer of 2011 will see the merger of three top law firms creating a new a major player in the international legal market. Who’s Who Legal looks at how it changes the international legal marketplace and where the new firm ranks according to our research.
Norton Rose Group will be teaming up with leading Canadian firm Ogilvy Renault LLP and leading South African law firm Deneys Reitz on 1 June next year.
The new firm entitled The Norton Rose Group, will be a top 10 global legal practice by number of professionals with more than 2,500 lawyers including 750 partners. The merger adds eight additional offices to the Norton Rose Group, with five in Canada and three in South Africa totalling, 38 offices worldwide
Peter Martyr, group chief executive of Norton Rose, said: “This is a very exciting move for the group and constitutes a significant step towards realising the group’s global ambition of becoming one of the world’s leading providers of legal services, with offices in the world’s principal business and financial centres.”
With 97 lawyers currently listed in Who’s Who Legal publications from the three firms, the combined firm will be the ninth largest in our research worldwide with nominees from 13 offices.
The new Norton Rose Group will field representatives in 28 areas of law from the 31 covered by Who’s Who Legal, a breadth of expertise unrivalled by any other single firm and which ranks the new firm alongside the leading players in the industry worldwide.
This is the biggest firm merger in terms of recognised lawyers since the launch of Hogan Lovells in May this year.
The combined firm will be particularly strong in certain areas, according to our research. Aviation in particular stands out. With 10 market-leading practitioners selected in this category, it stands alongside current Who’s Who Legal award winner Clyde & Co LLP which has 12 in this sector.
Life sciences will also be widely represented in the new firm with seven practitioners in this category ranking it alongside some of the sector’s leading players.
The new firm will also be particularly well represented in the project finance, management labour and employment and construction publications with six practitioners selected in each.
Norton Rose currently has 49 lawyers included in the research and is featured in the “Who’s Who Legal 70”; our annual list that highlights the world’s 70 leading law practices. In this analysis, practitioner Patrick Farrell is named an “excellent litigator” and Owen Mulholland’s finance practice is “highly recommended”. The analysis also highlights the expertise of construction lawyer and “leading light” Grant Ahearn and the “first-class” Mélanie Thill-Tayara who features in life sciences and competition.
Ogilvy Renault, which sees 31 of its lawyers listed, brings its market-leading practice in commercial arbitration to The Norton Rose Group.
Highlighted as “greatly professional, highly experienced and very thorough”, Ogilvy Renault is known as Canada’s top arbitration firm, with eminent practitioners L Yves Fortier CC QC and Pierre Bienvenu among those listed in the research.
Deneys Reitz, which has 17 lawyers listed, is currently the third largest firm in our South Africa research. It features respected practitioner Kevin Cron who is listed as a leader in five practice areas.
Martin Coleman, head of the competition group at Norton Rose, says clients consider it increasingly important for the firm to offer global advice: “Our group can offer coherent solutions to competition issues drawing on our experience in both mature competition regimes and developing systems.”
Coleman, goes on to say that, “Ogilvy Renault and Deneys Reitz each have a superb reputation for competition law advice in their jurisdiction, and combining their expertise with the [firm’s] offerings in Europe and Asia-Pacific means we can offer high-quality advice across five continents.”
Managing Partner of Ogilvy Renault, John Coleman says, “Norton Rose Group is a global leader, with a highly compatible business focus and client service ethic. Equally important, our firms have a similar culture and values. As soon as the initial discussions were underway it became clear that we shared a common global vision particularly as it relates to emerging markets such as Asia Pacific. We have strong synergies with the group, including practice areas, industry sectors and geographic expansion.” John Coleman is listed in The International Who’s Who of Management Labour and Employment Lawyers.
Rob Otty, deputy chairman of Deneys Reitz, commented: “The combination of our years of experience in Africa and Norton Rose Group’s increasing involvement in African business will provide the group with a springboard to become the premier legal practice in Africa.” Otty, who is listed in The International Who’s Who of Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyers, adds: “As part of Norton Rose Group, we expect to be at the forefront of developing Africa’s business ties with the rest of the world and in particular with Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas.”
Group chief executive Peter Martyr will lead the new Norton Rose Group with Rob Otty and John Coleman as members of the Group’s executive committee.