Withers law firm establishes Australian presence
23rd Dec 2014
International law firm Withers has moved into the Australian market after forming a new alliance with Balazs & Welch LLP, a Sydney-based tax firm.
The alliance will be called Withers SBL, offering tax and corporate services, with Withers believing that Australia is ‘a key market for high-net worth clients’.
Rita Chowdhury has been recruited as a partner by Withers, managing their part of the merge, while Justin Shmith, corporate partner, will be leading the Balazs & Welch strand.
In the past, Chowdhury has led both private and corporate client immigration practices at Deloitte, and Baker & McKenzie, and at the start of the year formed her own practice. She spoke of her excitement at the chance to join Withers at such a ‘pivotal moment of their international growth strategy’. She states that demand for immigration advice in Australia is at record levels, and is therefore eager to work with colleagues in building a leading regional practice in international immigration.
Most recently Shmith has been a partner in Ashurst’s corporate and commercial team based in Melbourne, having previously bee their Asia Practice Leader. The practice he established on his own will now be working under the Withers SBL title. Shmith noted that the market for high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs in the country is underserviced, and that the new alliance will be in prime position to tap into it.
Margaret Robertson, Withers managing director, believes that the alliance is ‘a huge step forward’ for the firm’s international presence, and that Australia offers a wide range of opportunities for the company ‘not just as a stand-alone market for successful people’, but also forming a key part of the Asia-Pacific market. The alliance will have close working links with Hong Kong and Singapore, in order to benefit from businesses in Australia, China and more broadly South East Asia.