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Prestigious SA law firm 'combines' with global giant

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Adelaide law firm Fisher Jeffries, established in 1885 while South Australia was still a British colony, has joined with multinational giant Dentons.

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The 134-year-old commercial law firm officially transferred its employees, client base and ongoing matters to Dentons from today, and has adopted the name Dentons Fisher Jeffries, according to Doug Stipanicev, chairman of Dentons Australia.

He told InDaily it was not a takeover but rather a “combination” of the firms.

He explained that although other Australasian firms under the Denton umbrella would now gain a stake in the veteran Adelaide partnership, it would also gain a stake in them.

“(We have) made their business in South Australia part of our business,” said Stipanicev.

“Have we bought them? No… We use the term ‘combination’.

“From today, their people all combine with us and commence today with us (and) all their matters will be transferred to Dentons.”

Dentons employs more than 10,000 lawyers around the world and operates as a Swiss verein, meaning that individual regions, each containing a number of Dentons firms, operate autonomously under the global brand.

Stipanicev said Dentons would now gain access to the Adelaide firm’s client base, and the firm’s 11 partners would, in turn, gain access to the Dentons client base, across the region.

Stipanicev said Dentons was attracted to Fisher Jeffries because it is “one of the oldest, most prestigious firms in South Australia”.

“They are a standout firm with a standout client base,” he said.

“This completes the major (Australian) city footprint for us.”

Fisher Jeffries has been associated with Dentons for some time, although the precise nature of the prior commercial relationship remains unclear.

Stipanicev is quoted in a Dentons media release, distributed today, saying that the businesses established a connection in 2016 and that “our combination with Fisher Jeffries not only formalises our longstanding relationship, but also connects our clients to new opportunities both domestically and globally”.

According to snapshots from internet archive the Wayback Machine, Fisher Jeffries added a reference to Dentons on its website between November and December 2018, since then describing itself as an “associate office of Dentons Australia”.

InDaily attempted to contact Fisher Jeffries Managing Partner Karen Thomas for comment, but she did not respond this morning.

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