Global law firm HFW launches consulting arm with focus on Asia

05 October 2018 4 min. read
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The UK-based global law firm HFW has launched a multidisciplinary consulting business with an initial focus of the Middle Eastern, Australian and Asian markets. 

Following the establishment of a compliance, risk and regulatory consulting arm by leading Singapore law firm Allen & Gledhill last month, the UK-based specialist global law firm HFW (Holman Fennik Willan) has gone one step further with the launch of a stand-alone consulting arm with offerings in organisational development, assessment process design, cybersecurity, legal strategies, talent management and public relations among other provisions.

With offices currently stretching three continents, including its 20th worldwide launched in Abu Dhabi this month and Asian locations in Hong Kong (established in 1978), Jakarta, Singapore (1991) and Shanghai (1999), HFW has stated that its new consulting venture will initially target clients in the Asia, Australia and the Middle East markets. Currently, HFW maintains a specialist focus on the aerospace, commodities, construction, energy, insurance and shipping sectors.

“HFW Consulting was launched in response to increasing demand from clients to help them develop their businesses, enhance their people and protect them against risk. We have been providing ad hoc consulting services to several clients for more than a year, so thought it was time to formalise our offering,” Chris O'Callaghan, current HFW director of learning and development and the new head of HFW Consulting said.Global specialist law firm HFW launches consulting arm with a focus on AsiaO'Callaghan, a former Manager with Accenture in the UK for over four years prior to joining HFW, expanded on the rationale of a targeted regional focus; “We will always help clients wherever and in whatever way they require, but we recognise that the consulting market in Europe and North America is already very mature and competitive. We see greater opportunity in the Middle East, Asia and Australia, where we think adding consulting services to our strong legal practices in those markets gives us a unique proposition.”

In terms of management consulting, the Asia Pacific market has now grown to a worth of more than $50 billion (with Australia contributing upwards of $5 billion for one of the highest consultancy spends per capita of anywhere in the world), and is one of the hottest growth markets globally, with PwC’s recent record $41.3 billion revenue announcement for example underpinned by the firm’s 15 percent growth in Asia last year.

Perhaps not incidentally, an emerging major front in the ever-broadening landscape of integrated cross-sector consulting is in the legal services domain, with Asia and particularly Singapore at the epicentre. In just recent months alone, all of the Big Four accounting and consulting giants, including PwC, have escalated their efforts to stake a market claim while in the process poaching seasoned legal practitioners from established traditional local firms.

Richard Crump, a global senior partner with HFW based in Singapore – one of the firm’s 180 partners among nearly 600 fee earners worldwide – believes the firm’s specialist expertise will provide HFW Consulting with a point of difference. “As a true sector-focused law firm… clients know that we understand their business and their sector, and trust us to provide commercial as well as legal advice. Broadening those relationships to include consulting services is a natural next step, and means that we are even better able to provide clients with the best and most commercially effective advice possible.”