Boutique top tier uses break up of alliance to hit Sydney market

A boutique top tier law firm is setting a new strategic course with plans to expand further into Sydney following the discontinuation of an alliance between it and three other firms

Thynne + Macartney is setting a new strategic course with plans to expand further into Sydney following the dissolution of the Kennedy Strang Legal Group late last year.

Chairman of partners, Bill Loughnan told Australasian Lawyer that the idea behind the alliance was to form a common bond between firms of similar sizes, with the view to provide a uniform service across a range of clients.

“There was a view at one stage that it would to progression and amalgamation, and that clearly didn’t happen,” he says.

One of the members of the alliance, Kemp Strang, decided to focus more on banking and finance; while another, Russell Kennedy, bolstered its government clients.

Neither of these really aligned with where Thynne + Macartney saw itself heading. The discontinuation was a mutual decision between all firms involved.

"As one member of the KSLG alliance, we were in the position of not being a truly national firm nor a stand-alone, independent firm.  We saw this as stifling our potential for growth, particularly beyond Queensland and in the vast majority of practice areas where we did not have synergies with the KSLG alliance,” Loughnan says.

"Like Kemp Strang, we share ambitions of expanding to, and growing in, other Australian markets, but unlike Kemp Strang we are targeting, for the most part, different areas of work using a very different business model."

Last week, Australasian Lawyer reported that Kemp Strang is to open a wholly owned office in Brisbane, headed by partners Glen Williams and Paul Wong, both from Thynne & Macartney.

“We’re losing two of our partners and I don’t like to see us losing partners, but I can see why they feel like they need to be part of a different structure,” says Loughnan.

He says the firm saw the importance of remaining independent and taking advantage of centres of excellence. He thinks there is a big role to play for a firm the size of Thynne + Macartney in providing specialist advice.

Part of this will involve working hard to grow the market it serves in Queensland, Northern Australia and Sydney.

"This move is obviously not at the expense of our large private clients practice and our successful property, construction, commercial, dispute resolution and insolvency practices. We believe these measures will promote growth in these areas, including Sydney,” Loughnan says.

"Our agribusiness, media, maritime and transport, and Insurance groups already enjoy market leading reputations in Queensland. We see Sydney in particular as the platform for continued growth in these areas." 

He says the firm is “somewhat unique” in that it has a transparent business model that allows it to track the individual profitability of everyone in the business.

It will be implementing a range of strategies to cement its mark on the Sydney market.

The main one will be through lateral hires, but it is also very focused on its internal succession planning, Loughnan says.

He also won’t rule out the possibility of a merger or a new office opening in the future.

“We’re always on the lookout for opportunities, but we certainly want to remain masters of our own destiny. We’re formally wedded to the idea of maintaining our independence,” he says.

"We believe that Thynne + Macartney's current size and structure is a real advantage.  It gives us great flexibility to respond quickly to the needs of the markets we want to service as well as individual clients.  It also allows us to provide clients with access to some of the most experienced partners in their field in Australia at some of the most competitive rates.”

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