DAC Beachcroft's New Zealand offices join Australian alliance partner

DAC Beachcroft’s two New Zealand offices have been taken over by Australian law firm Wotton + Kearney, eight months after the firms agreed an alliance in the region.

Six DACB partners and 11 insurance lawyers across offices in Auckland and Wellington joined Wotton + Kearney today (9 October).

DACB’s New Zealand managing partner, Antony Holden, will continue to lead the practice at Wotton. He joined DACB when the firm moved into New Zealand through the acquisition of insurance boutique Williams Holden Cooklin Gibbons (WHCG) in 2010.

The following year, DACB set up a second office in Wellington following the hire of a four-strong insurance team.

DACB managing partner David Pollitt said: ”When we launched Legalign Global earlier this year, we said all four member firms were already recognised as best in class in their respective markets and regions, and we would work together to meet mutual clients’ business needs.

“We feel that our clients in the Australasia region will be better served with our New Zealand colleagues being part of Wotton + Kearney. It is a really positive move and a strong sign of the commitment of Legalign Global to serving our clients.”

Wotton + Kearney’s chief executive partner, David Kearney, added: “As a law firm with a singular focus on the insurance industry, we are delighted to be broadening our services into New Zealand to assist our clients and their customers doing business in the region by joining forces with a high quality group of insurance lawyers led by Antony Holden.”

He added that the integration followed “open dialogue with the broader DAC Beachcroft team around what is in the best interests of clients”.

The deal does not change the alliance between the two firms that was formed in January this year, when DACB entered a four-way agreement with insurance-focused firms in Germany, Australia and the US.

Legalign Global provides clients with access to lawyers from BLD Bach Langheid Dallmayr in Germany and Wilson Elser in the US, in addition to those from DACB and Wotton.

The four way-alliance operates as a UK private company limited by guarantee, the same structure used in the merger between Eversheds and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan and in the tie-up between Gowlings and Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co.

Prior to taking on DACB’s New Zealand offices, Wotton employed more than 120 lawyers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. The firm’s focus is on insurance work, handling claims and coverage issues across the commercial insurance sector.