HWL Ebsworth to integrate high-flying WA boutique

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Australia’s largest legal partnership is set to grow even more in Western Australia as it takes in a high-flying commercial law-focused boutique firm in Perth.

HWL Ebsworth has announced that it will integrate Bellanhouse Lawyers and its team later this year. Bellanhouse specialises in capital markets and M&A. HWL Ebsworth said that Bellanhouse has had "significant success" by focusing on domestic and international clients requiring corporate and commercial expertise, particularly within the energy and resources sector.

HWL Ebsworth entered the WA market in July 2013 after a merger with Downings Legal. Since then, it has grown its Perth office through lateral recruitment and developing talents within. The national firm now has 19 partners and 59 legal staff members in the local offering, covering a wide range of areas including corporate and commercial, property, planning and environment, construction and infrastructure, workplace relations and safety, litigation, banking and finance, and insurance.

The Bellanhouse team – headlined by partners Bryn Hardcastle, Shaun Hardcastle, Michael Boyce, Dave Filov, and Deanna Carpenter – joins the HWL Ebsworth office at 240 St Georges Terrace in Perth on 4 November.

“I have been tremendously impressed by the quality and commitment of the Bellanhouse team. At every stage of our discussions, it has been clear that their dedication to their clients and their desire to join a firm that shares their approach to doing business was a crucial element of their decision making process,” said Juan Martinez.

The HWL Ebsworth managing partner also pointed out Bellanhouse’s recent achievements as a boutique firm.

“Given the size of the Bellanhouse team, their success to date has been extraordinary. As reported in a recent Global Capital Markets review, Bellanhouse was recorded as having advised on more equity capital market deals in the first half of 2019 than any other law firm in Australia.

Martinez also explained why the combination is strategic for HWL Ebsworth’s future.

“I am delighted they identified HWL Ebsworth as the best option for their clients and team, and their addition will strengthen our offering in areas that will be important for us and our clients in the years to come. This combination is yet another demonstration of our ongoing eagerness to pursue opportunities to enhance our offering to our national and international client base,” he said.

Hardcastle, who is the managing partner of Bellandhouse, explained why they decided to combine with a much larger law firm.

“Since launching Bellanhouse, we have differentiated ourselves from traditional law firms through our partner-led approach and personalised service. To continue our rapid progression, it became apparent that we needed to be able to offer our clients a broader range of expertise and the benefits of a national platform. Having considered a number of options, it became evident very quickly that combining our operations with HWL Ebsworth would allow us to be part of a full service commercial law firm without requiring us to change the way in which we service our clients,” he said.