City firm SJ Berwin’s merger with Asia Pacific giant King & Wood Mallesons has gone live today.
The new entity will be known as King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin for a transitional period before the UK firm’s name is dropped.
The combination produces one of the top 25 law firms in the world by revenue, with over 2,000 lawyers and a turnover of more than $1bn.
Probably best known for its private equity prowess, SJ Berwin was one of the younger members of the London elite, having been founded by prominent City lawyer Stanley Berwin in 1982.
In recent years, it had pursued mergers with several American firms without result, and the King & Wood Mallesons merger represents a change of thinking, as SJ Berwin senior partner Stephen Kon said in a video interview with The Lawyer editor Catrin Griffiths. “The world has changed,” he said. “Our clients are looking east as well as west. The direction of travel has changed.”
Cultural differences, Kon added, were not as significant as many outsiders believe.
He said: “Although I know that it’s not uncommon to exaggerate the cultural differences between Asia and Europe, one of the great strengths of the combination is how well we do get on with people. We don’t see those cultural differences. We don’t feel them.”