DLA Piper makes New Zealand debut

As part of its growing integration with the global law firm, New Zealand firm DLA Phillips Fox has become DLA Piper New Zealand.

As part of its growing integration with the global law firm, New Zealand firm DLA Phillips Fox has become DLA Piper New Zealand.

25 partners and 67 lawyers in New Zealand are now part of an international firm that spans 33 countries and employs 4,200 lawyers.

DLA Piper New Zealand chairman Martin Wiseman predicted that the integration will be transformational for the Kiwi firm, and expects that bringing the infrastructure of a global firm to local market will add to the firm’s ability to attract high-quality legal talent and clients.

In particular, he expects that being able to tap into the expertise of international colleagues will be a value proposition for the firm’s clients. Local clients with a presence overseas or clients that aspire to have a presence overseas will benefit from being able to access the firm’s international network, and even clients that are anchored in New Zealand and will likely never undertake work outside of the country will benefit from best practice expertise from overseas in areas such as PPPs.

The journey to this announcement Piper began in 2006 with Phillips Fox joining the DLA Piper Group under the name DLA Phillips Fox. The Australian part of the practice fully integrated in 2011. New Zealand’s integration with the international firm is a move that makes sense, Wiseman said.

Although Wiseman believes that the future of New Zealand’s legal market is a more international one, he does not anticipate that every firm in the market will have an international affiliation or that all international firms will one day be represented in New Zealand.

“My view is that the clients decide how these businesses evolve; we’ve done what we’ve done because DLA Piper need representation in the New Zealand market to service their clients. At the end of the day, people need to sail their own boat. What we’ve done works for us,” he said.

“I think that DLA Piper New Zealand will be something which has a clear competitive point of difference because it will be the only representative of global business law firm in New Zealand. I think that it will continue to make us attractive to the best legal talent at all levels of seniority; graduates right through to lateral hire partners. I think there’ll always be a place for the established local firms; they are something different to what we are.”

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