Berwin Leighton Paisner in merger talks with US giant Greenberg Traurig to create 2,500 lawyer super firm

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By Alex Aldridge on

BLPGT could become latest transatlantic giant


City of London law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has revealed that it is in merger talks with US megafirm Greenberg Traurig.

If they tie the knot, the pair of behemoths would have a combined 2,500-3,000 lawyers working across Europe, the US and Asia.

That would place the new firm — which could hopefully find a catchier post-merger name than BLPGT — ahead of Hogan Lovells (which has 2,300 lawyers) but behind Norton Rose Fulbright (3,800 lawyers) and Dentons (6,500 lawyers).

Still, a firm of this size would be one of the world’s top 10 by number of lawyers.

While the proposed tie-up might have legal market observers salivating, it wouldn’t mean that much for students. Greenberg Traurig, which is big in the US but only has a small London office on unfashionable Gray’s Inn Road, offers just three UK training contracts annually.

These would presumably be rolled into BLP’s training contract intake — the London firm, whose famous art deco office (pictured) sits proudly on the banks of the Thames, currently offers 45 training contracts each year.

Often firms get together when things have been going badly for them, but BLP is on a decent run — having increased turnover by 6% and profit per equity partner by a whopping 22% last year. Greenberg has also been performing well lately, with profits and revenue up.

The mutual attraction is thought to stem from the firms’ shared strength in real estate and infrastructure work.

BLP managing partner Lisa Mayhew framed the merger discussions — which are still at a preliminary stage, according to the firms — as an opportunistic move while times are good, commenting:

BLP has always been a game-changer in the legal sector and hungry to explore opportunities that will improve the quality and breadth of our service to clients.

Any merger would be subject to a partner vote. The firms declined to issue any further comment.