Exclusive: Law firm CEO discusses strategic move into Australia

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After announcing plans to open offices in Perth and Sydney, Australasian Lawyer talked exclusively with the law firm’s CEO.

Hogan Lovells will open two Australian offices this year, in a strategic move to service clients in the Asian region, the firm announced yesterday.  Australasian Lawyer spoke exclusively with Hogan Lovells’ CEO Steve Immelt.

 “Asia is very important, it’s predicted to grow at two or three times the pace of the western world over the next few years and there’s huge arising middle class,” Immelt said.  “There’s going to be huge demand for hard and soft commodities, all of it really linked to Asia resuming its role as the leading economy of the world.”

The firm already has a strong presence in the US and Europe and will expand upon its 250 lawyer strong Asian operation with the opening of their 48th and 49th offices worldwide. While opening Australian offices isn’t an attempt to attract domestic work, Immelt said that as the world’s 12th largest economy, Australia is an important market in the global landscape and a strategic move for the firm.

“It’s also about creating a strong and sustainable platform in Australia because it’s regional and global importance because that will allow us to win new work into Australia from existing regional and global clients,” he said.  “The fact is, we have a very significant US client base and the US is the biggest investor in Australia, and so there are real opportunities there.”

Immelt hopes the firm’s Asian arm will continue to grow over the next 18 months, but said there are no plans to build a full service domestic capability.

“We would plan on growing on the next year or 18 months we hope to perhaps 9 – 12 partners, those would be high quality partners who are interested in focusing on the international opportunities that a global firm can provide,” he said.