“We are ambitious, and we want to build a strong, large-scale legal business with an expanded interstate presence”
Australia’s legal industry may see the emergence of a bigger and stronger competitor in the mid-tier space by 1 July if all goes according to plan for McCabes Lawyers and Curwoods Lawyers.
The two firms have formalised their intention to merge by signing a heads of agreement that stipulates the merger going live by that date. The marriage will create a new firm, which will operate under the McCabe Curwood name.
“Our businesses are complementary. We are ambitious, and we want to build a strong, large-scale legal business with an expanded interstate presence,” said Andrew Lacey, the current McCabes managing principal.
Lacey will become managing partner when the merger goes live. Scott Kennedy, Curwoods’ incumbent managing partner, will lead the new firm’s insurance group, which will be a key area of focus for the new firm.
Kennedy said that “by merging, the new entity will have one of the largest and most diverse insurance practices in Australia. The combined entity will also provide a strong platform for continuing growth across the various commercial practice areas.”
McCabes and Curwoods say that shared culture and values drove both firms to come together. The formation of a formidable insurance practice also played a big part in the decision.
“We share the same goals of providing high quality services to our clients, supporting and developing our people, and streamlining systems and resources to be able to deliver on these goals,” Kennedy said.
“We found that McCabes' values were very much aligned with Curwoods' values. We both place an importance on quality and excellence and support and encourage staff,” Lacey said.
Kennedy said that both firms explored various options for growth, “but the opportunities offered by a McCabes and Curwoods merger were by far the best foundation for us to build together a thriving business for the future.”
The merger comes on the heels of HWL Ebsworth, Australia’s largest partnership, integrating most of the lawyers of TressCox Lawyers into its ranks. Late last year, Norton Rose Fulbright also completed its acquisition of legacy Henry Davis York.