Taking on the world
March 1, 2011
In just over a year, Norton Rose’s Peter Martyr has crafted ambitious tie-ups in Australia, Canada and South Africa, writes the American Lawyer. John Coleman and Norman Steinberg are featured in this story about Ogilvy Renault joining Norton Rose Group.
In 2009 a resurgent Norton Rose stunned the market by announcing that it would combine with Deacons, one of Australia's largest firms. Just over 12 months later, it garnered more headlines by pulling off a three-way tie-up with Canada's Ogilvy Renault and South Africa's Deneys Reitz. The moves have catapulted Norton Rose onto the global stage. Although the firms will retain separate profit pools, when the most recent union takes effect in June, the combined Norton Rose Group will rank as one of the world's top ten law firms by head count, boasting more than 2,500 lawyers in 38 offices worldwide and gross revenues of more than $1 billion.
The transformation of Norton Rose is due in large part to CEO Peter Martyr, first elected in 2002 to a rule that has become near-absolute. Determined to restore the firm to its former glory, Martyr masterminded the construction of spectacular new offices in London and implemented an industry-focused practice structure that has been copied by many firms in subsequent years. His biggest legacy is likely to be the firm's ambitious new international reach.
Martyr adds that Ogilvy's 35-partner mining and resources practice is "actually much more significant than we thought-it's just that they're not structured around it." Ogilvy managing partner John Coleman points to Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. and ArcelorMittal S.A. as two major clients in the sector. The Canadian firm's 32-partner life sciences and pharmaceuticals group, meanwhile, will spawn a sixth global headlight.
Ogilvy Renault joined international legal practice Norton Rose Group on June 1, 2011, and is now called Norton Rose OR LLP.