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Westpac takes trans-Tasman road

Briefs

Cite as: (2005) 79(11) LIJ, p. 14


One of the nation’s largest banks, Westpac, has set up a trans-Tasman legal panel that opens the potential for Australian legal work to go to New Zealand legal firms.

Westpac Group secretary and general counsel Richard Willcock said New Zealand firms offered better value for money, as they had been subjected to competitive pressure through macroeconomic forces.

“The consequence is that they are highly competitive in terms of price and service.”

He also said there generally tended to be a higher level of client awareness and focus from New Zealand legal firms.

“We have access to partners and senior associates in transactions where sometimes in Australia you might not actually see the senior partners that often,” he said.

But he stressed that the benefits worked both ways, with the trans-Tasman panel opening up opportunities for Australian legal firms as well.

“Really, geography is less and less relevant.

“This is not about trying to export work from Australia. It’s about trying to access the whole of the capability pool available to Westpac.”

The trans-Tasman legal panel, which commenced in July this year, includes Australian firms Clayton Utz, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Freehills, Allens Arthur Robinson, Gadens Lawyers, Gilbert & Tobin, Henry Davis York, Mallesons Stephen Jaques and Minter Ellison (also NZ-based); and New Zealand firms Anthony Harper, Brookfields, Chapman Tripp, Mayne Wetherell, Russell McVeagh and Simpson Grierson.

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