|No. of offices||27|
|No. of lawyers||1,700+|
|No. of employees||3,500+|
|Major practice areas||General practice|
|Key people||Ben Tidswell|
(Chief Financial Officer)
Ashurst Australia was previously known as Blake Dawson. On 1 March 2012, Blake Dawson and Ashurst combined their practices in Asia and Blake Dawson changed its name to Ashurst Australia whilst adopting the Ashurst brand. Ashurst LLP is a member of the 'Silver Circle' of leading UK law firms, and is now the UK's 7th largest law firm by revenue.
Blake Dawson was also previously known as Blake Dawson Waldron or BDW until 2007.
Blake Dawson had its origins in Melbourne in 1841 when James Hunter Ross emigrated from Scotland and set up practice in a tent on the corner of Bourke and William Streets in Melbourne. Unfortunately, James Hunter Ross died in September 1865. In 1874, the company adopted the name of Blake & Riggall, which remained unchanged for 114 years.
In 1881, George Charles King Waldron commenced practice in Pitt Street in Sydney under the name of Dawson Waldron. In 1886 Percy Dawson was articled to Waldron and upon admission as a solicitor in 1891 the firm became known as Waldron & Dawson.
From the early years, these two firms played a significant part in the legal system in Victoria and New South Wales, with a substantial commercial, litigation and property practice. The firm's client base included large corporations, banks, mining and pastoral companies.
Blake Dawson Waldron was formed in 1988 through a merger of Blake & Riggall (Melbourne, Brisbane), Dawson Waldron (Sydney, Canberra and Singapore), Collison Hunt & Richardson (Perth) and McCubbery Train Love and Thomas (Port Moresby). This merger brought together lawyers from all of the major commercial centres in Australia as well as important centres in the Asia and Pacific regions. Three further Asian offices were established, in Jakarta in 1988, Shanghai in 1995 and Singapore in 2009.
In 2007, the firm underwent re-branding, and as part of this project, shortened its name to Blake Dawson. The name change drew some attention from the local press and the Australian Financial Review, a respected business newspaper, published a story about a homosexual pornographic actor who shared the same name. Blake Dawson, the actor, had appeared in The Diary in 1982 and Spring Semester in 1985. The law firm continued to proceed with the name change after the story was published.
In 2009, it was announced that the partnership of Blake Dawson was considering cutting up to 100 staff in a bid to reduce costs and preserve profit. Blake Dawson was the first top tier law firm in Australia to announce anticipated redundancies during the 2009 economic downturn.
In September 2011, it was announced that the firm would combine its Asian business with that of British law firm Ashurst and be re-branded as Ashurst across all offices on 1 March 2012, followed by a full financial merger of the two firms on 1 November 2013.
On 1 March 2012, Blake Dawson and Ashurst combined their practices in Asia and Blake Dawson changed its name to Ashurst Australia and adopted the Ashurst brand. The table below summarises the merger of the two firms.
|Ashurst LLP||Blake Dawson|
|Number of partners||230||192|
|Number of lawyers||900+||820+|
|Number of offices||16||11|
|Revenue (2011)||A$462 million +||A$380 million +|
In 2004 Blake Dawson began sponsoring the Blake Dawson Business Literature Prize for business and financial affairs writing, administered by the State Library of New South Wales. From 2012 the prize has been known as the Ashurst Business Literature Prize.
- Merritt, Chris (27 September 2011). "Blake Dawson plans UK alliance to go for growth". The Australian.
- Ashurst and Blake Dawson announce merger
- The making of a national firm: Blake Dawson Retrieved 25 January 2017.
- JOB WATCH: Chris Nicholson (27 February 2009). "Retrenched turn the Page for a new job | The Australian". Theaustralian.news.com.au. Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
- Blake Dawson (2011). Ashurst and Blake Dawson announce Asia business combination and future merger plans. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- Ashurst's partners vote for full financial integration. Ashurst, 26 September 2013.
- "Ashurst & Blakes confirm merger". Au.legalbusinessonline.com. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- "About the Prize". State Library of New South Wales. Retrieved 18 January 2018.