Linklaters seals Allens alliance deal as Davies secures MP reappointment

Linklaters and Australia’s Allens Arthur Robinson have sealed their exclusive alliance deal as the magic circle firm’s partnership confirmed managing partner Simon Davies’ second term in office.

The deal, confirmed by partner votes at both firms on Friday (20 April), will come into effect on 1 May and will take the form of an alliance, with the pair maintaining separate profit pools.

In addition to the alliance, which will see the firms teaming up on joint client pitches, sharing resources and co-operating in recruitment and training, the deal also includes a joint venture in Asia covering energy, resources and infrastructure projects work.

They have also formed a separate joint venture in Indonesia, building on Allens’ existing relationship with local firm Widyawan & Partners, which will focus on energy, resources and infrastructure, banking, capital markets, and M&A.

There will be a shared profit pool in Indonesia but the energy joint venture will see Linklaters and Allens share costs associated with expanding the practice and revenues, but not profits.

Both firms have confirmed that there is no intention to merge in the long term, however, as part of the agreement, they have the option to enter new Asian jurisdictions together.

The Australian firm currently has 600 lawyers working out of 14 offices across Australia and Asia, including bases in Vietnam, China, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.

Linklaters, meanwhile, has around 300 lawyers operating across six offices in the region: Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and Bangkok.

Where both firms have offices in the same location – such as Shanghai, Beijing and Bangkok – some of Allens’ lawyers will move into Linklaters’ office space.

The Australian firm will rebrand as Allens but will use Linklaters’ brand imagery.

Linklaters managing partner Simon Davies said: “This deal has been in planning for a year and we have been talking about how to approach certain markets in Asia, namely Indonesia and energy, resources and infrastructure.

“Allens is the best firm in Australia and a combination with Linklaters – which we argue is the best firm outside of Australia – will give both firms a compelling proposition. This is about collaborating to provide a seamless service to clients.”

Allens, which was previously an established referral partner of Slaughter and May, posted revenues of $459.5m (£291m) in 2010 with profit per equity partner (PEP) of $1.1m (£696,000), according to the most recent global 100 compiled by The American Lawyer and Legal Week. Linklaters’ revenues for 2010-11 stood at £1.2bn alongside PEP of £1.225m.

The Australian deal makes Linklaters the latest in a string of UK firms to target the Australian legal market in recent months.

Herbert Smith is currently pursuing merger talks with Freehills, while Ashurst united with Blake Dawson under the Ashurst banner from 1 March.Meanwhile, China’s King & Wood last year agreed a merger with Mallesons Stephens Jacques, another of Australia’s leading law firms.

Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, Norton Rose and DLA Piper have all also moved into the market since 2010.

Separately, Linklaters’ partners have voted to confirm Davies’ second term in office.

Earlier this year Davies had failed to achieve the 75% majority vote required to secure his reappointment due to a protest by partners unhappy with management decisions and the way they were communicated.

As a result, Davies – who was the only candidate standing for the managing partner role – faced a physical vote on his reappointment at the partnership meeting in Montreux.