HWL Ebsworth Lawyers is set to become the sixth largest law firm in Western Australia after striking a deal to acquire boutique Perth firm Bellanhouse Lawyers.
The combined firm will have 19 partners and a total of 78 legal professionals, ranking it just below King & Wood Mallesons but above Lavan on the BNiQ database.
The merger comes after a period of rapid expansion for Bellanhouse, which advised clients today of its merger plans.
Bellanhouse was established six years ago and has become one of the most active firms in the junior mining sector, advising on multiple capital raisings and takeovers.
The merger comes five years after national firm HWL Ebsworth moved into the WA market by acquiring historic Perth practice Downings Legal.
Former Downings partner Mitch Artus has subsequently become the national chairman of HWL Ebsworth.
Bryn Hardcastle said his firm had evaluated several merger options to support its goal to become the pre-eminent corporate practice in the WA market.
“We decided transitioning into a national firm was the best way for us to continue to grow our practice without compromising our current approach and service,” he said.
The expected benefits include the infrastructure and support of a national firm and the opportunity to offer a broader range of services.
Mr Hardcastle expects the merger will allow a very smooth transition.
“The way we run Bellanhouse is similar to HWL,” he said.
“They have the same philosophy of a partner-led and personalised service and, importantly, adopt a similar approach to pricing.”
In a note to clients, Mr Hardcastle said there would be a reduction in charge-out rates across all levels including partners.
He added that both firms had a low-cost, low-overhead model.
All Bellanhouse partners and the legal team will move across to HWL Ebsworth’s new offices at 240 St Georges Terrace at the start of November.