Berwin Leighton Paisner in transatlantic tie-up talks with Bryan Cave

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By Thomas Connelly on

UK-US merger trend continues

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and US outfit Bryan Cave have confirmed that they’re holding discussions about combining to create a law firm with 1,500 lawyers across 32 offices and 12 countries.

BLP, headquartered in London, is the smaller of the two outfits. The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2017-18 shows that it has 14 offices in ten countries, and offers around 40 training contracts annually. It boasts a latest profit per equity partner (PEP) of £630,000.

The firm — which recently enjoyed a 7% uplift in revenue to £272 million — scored well in our Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18. It chalked up As for, among other things, its training, quality of work and peer support.

By contrast, BLP’s potential US merger-buddy, Bryan Cave, is a relatively unknown name to law students this side of the pond. Though the firm does have a London office not too far from Moorgate, it is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. The outfit has over 900 lawyers spanning 26 offices in North America, Europe and Asia.

The firm hopes the potential combination will mean more global outreach for the firm. Therese Pritchard, chair of Bryan Cave, said:

“If we combine we will operate without regard to geographic boundaries. Our firm would be one of only a handful of global firms operating in a one-firm structure with more than 500 lawyers in both the US and also internationally.”

BLP’s managing partner, Lisa Mayhew, echoed this:

“We have an unusually strong cultural fit with a mutual focus on collaboration across our businesses in the interests of deep and lasting client relationships. It is encouraging for the potential firm that BLP and Bryan Cave both have this complementary heritage, but crucially also share the same ambitions for the future.”

The deal is subject to the resolution of all conflict issues and a partner vote by both firms later this year.

Transatlantic tie-ups appear to be the in thing this year. In February, international outfit Eversheds and US law firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan combined to create a new £600 million legal powerhouse called Eversheds Sutherland. Meanwhile back in June, national law firm Bond Dickinson and US player Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice confirmed a combination following a successful “strategic alliance”. The deal is scheduled to go live next month.

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