Seyfarth Shaw must delay Australian launch

June 13, 2013 The Australian newspaper reports that US law firm Seyfarth Shaw faces delay in the launch of two offices in Australia, after hiring eight lawyers from three different firms in Sydney and Melbourne. The launch date can’t be set, says the firm, until the new partners are released by their current firms.

Seyfarth Shaw hired five workplace relations partners from Herbert Smith Freehills, two from Ashurst and one from Arnold Bloch Leibler.

Herbert Smith Freehills is said to have plans to hold the departing partners to the notice provisions of their contracts, after recently losing two other partners to US litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. This could mean that the launch will be delayed by several months.

Jason Ricketts, Australian managing partner for Herbert Smith Freehills, said the departing partners had chosen to pursue a different challenge "but for the time being they remain partners with Herbert Smith Freehills".

"Our employment law practice is far and away the strongest in Australia and will continue to offer our clients the best advice available in the market," he said.

Seyfarth Shaw hopes intends to build upon its US employment practice - the firm has more than 350 employment lawyers and a total of 850 legal professionals across its network - to earn itself a strong position in the Australian market.

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