About Us
About Us

Celebrating 200 years of Ashurst

Ashurst: established 1822

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We are celebrating 200 years of Ashurst this year and looking forward to the next 200!

Imagine what our London founder William Henry Ashurst would think if he could see the firm today. He and his family championed progressive ideas so he would not be surprised to see the global reach, our deep relationships with our clients, nor the changes in legal practice and technology. He would be proud of our focus on pro bono and CSR.

Our history also has deep roots in Australia. In the past decade the most important story in our history was the full integration of Ashurst and Australian firm Blake Dawson in 2013, bringing together two exceptional law firms of similar tradition, size and culture and with complementary sectors of focus. Together, we created one team, one name and one brand from the outset, paving the way to becoming a premier global law firms.

As part of our celebrations we commissioned a book about our firm written by Professor Stuart Kells.

Professor Kells notes that "The story of Ashurst is the story of a modern law firm, and in many ways it is the story of modern law, modern society and modern commerce."

Read more about our new book: Ashurst: A story of a progressive global law firm – The first 200 years and view an interactive timeline of our history here.

A second book, 200 stories for 200 years, produced by a team of lawyers, has also been launched and you can explore our people's stories here.

Looking to the future, our clients benefit from our global experience and expertise with in-depth knowledge of key industries. Our innovative approach has already brought law and technology together in our Ashurst Advance practice. To serve our clients holistically, we are growing our risk consultancy and board advisory practices.

Our talented lawyers focus on solutions for our clients. We work with global corporations, financial institutions and governments to contribute to the building of industries and nations, the development of legal and business reforms, and to support our communities across the globe.

We are proud to launch our purpose as part of our celebrations: 

Together, we create the extraordinary
with our people, clients and communities

And we are excited to see what the future will bring.

Here we share a few stories about our extraordinary impact, legacy and our Ashurst family and we invite you to sign up to hear more about our celebrations in 2022 and to contribute your stories using the form at the bottom of this page.

"As we enter our 200th year, I am honoured to be leading the firm with Karen Davies, our Chair. With our current leadership team in place, and with Ashurst's extraordinary partners and staff around the world, the firm is well positioned to embark on our third century."

Paul Jenkins Global Chief Executive Officer

Extraordinary impact

The progress of Ashurst from its early days also forms part of the story of the development of law, society and commerce. Here we share some of our extraordinary stories and achievements:

Ashurst’s first client – James Morrison
Australia's largest ever commercial litigation proceedings – the Bell matter
NewLaw – technology working together with expertise
Infrastructure in pictures

From the start we have helped our clients not only with legal advice to help build their businesses, but also with their aspirations.

Find out more >

The Bell matter was the longest-running and largest piece of litigation the firm has conducted. It was also the biggest verdict in Australian legal history.

Find out more >

In 1822, Charles Babbage published a proposal for a forerunner of the modern computer, for calculating logarithms. Today Ashurst Advance, our NewLaw division, combines innovation and technology with our expertise working to meet clients’ needs and drive efficiency. 

Find out more > 

Starting with deft advice on the building of Liverpool Station in London in the 1860s, we have worked as key advisers on many iconic infrastructure projects across the transport sector. 

Find out more >

Celebrating women in law – the first hundred years Ashurst in Asia A painter in the Madrid officeSustainable business – leading for the future

In 2018 we reached 100 years of women practising law across the majority of Australian States. We marked the centenary with a photomosaic portrait of Ada Evans, the first Australian woman to graduate with a Bachelor of Laws. In recognition of the UK celebrating 100 years of women in law in 2019, the Ashurst First Women team in the UK produced a publication: First Women: Stories of Women at Ashurst.

Find out more >

The combination of Ashurst and Blake Dawson in March 2012, when we combined our Asia practices prior to full integration on 1 November 2013, paved the way for our Asia practice to grow from strength to strength. 

Find out more >

For some years, the world-famous realist artist Antonio López García has worked from one of the Madrid office’s meeting rooms and clients are amazed to meet him. 

Find out more >

As a global business, we have an important role to play in the fight against climate change. The decisions that we all are making now will impact generations to come.

Find out more on our sustainability hub>

Listen to our ESG Matters Podcasts >

Extraordinary people

What is it that makes Ashurst exceptional? The answer we keep hearing is “our people”. It is our people, both past and present, who live our values and embody our culture and together make up Ashurst.

As part of our celebrations, we would like to thank all the people who made Ashurst the firm it is today, and the people who continue to make Ashurst extraordinary.

Your stories are Ashurst’s stories.

Meet our people

Meet some of our people in these videos, which capture the people, diversity and culture at Ashurst.

Video: Working to put diversity at the heart of everything we do >

Video: Meet our new partners 2021 >


200 Stories for 200 Years

Explore our people's stories and get a glimpse into life at Ashurst from 1822 to the present day


Creating the Extraordinary

Our series Creating the Extraordinary shares the stories of some of our people who make Ashurst what it is.

Room full of professionals in conversation for Ashurst Alumni

Meet our alumni

We are proud of the achievements of our alumni, who helped build the firm. Many have gone on to create extraordinary careers as judges and barristers, as prime ministers, as attorneys general and commissioners, as business leaders and in-house counsel, and as leaders in other fields.


ESG Matters podcast: Matilda Ashurst

In 1840, our founder William Henry Ashurst attended the world’s first Anti-Slavery Convention accompanied by two of his four daughters. We examine the legacy of each of his daughters, starting with Matilda Ashurst.


Extraordinary legacy

Past and Present: Acknowledging our legacy through four initiatives

In the lead-up to Ashurst's 200th anniversary, we have been working on a way to honour our founder's legacy. William Henry Ashurst was a progressive advocate who was deeply committed to social justice, particularly women's equality and the abolition of slavery.

William's four daughters also poured their energy into the fight to abolish slavery and the fight to achieve equality for women. What William's daughters achieved in their lifetimes is remarkable and we have chosen to name four key initiatives after them, connecting our future efforts to the Ashurst family's historical work and paying a public tribute to four incredible women.

Read more about our Modern Slavery Action Plan, our four initiatives and how we plan to play a role in working to combat all forms of modern slavery, as a firm and together with our clients, colleagues and other stakeholders.

Find out more >

Find out more about our pro bono work >

Find out more about our social impact work >

Stay in touch to hear more about events and special publications or share your story about the firm with us


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