US merger latest: Womble Bond Dickinson tie-up goes live as BLP/Bryan Cave talks gather pace

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BLP deal could be wrapped up as soon as 1 January

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National law firm Bond Dickinson’s merger with United States (US) outfit Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice has officially gone live today, creating a new £340 million transatlantic legal player.

Womble Bond Dickinson, as the firm is now known, boasts over 1,000 lawyers across 24 offices. Guided by 420 partners, the firm is a top 20 outfit here in the United Kingdom and top 80 over in the US. The tie-up — which was first revealed in June — formally cements a successful year-long “strategic alliance” between the two firms.

Bond Dickinson, prior to today’s merger, offered around 30 training contracts annually, according to Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List 2017-18. We understand that this figure is likely to remain unchanged now the deal has officially gone live.

Bond Dickinson was a solid performer in our Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18, scoring an A* for partner approachability and As for training, quality of work and work/life balance. In September, the firm unveiled an autumn retention score of 81%, keeping hold of 22 of its 27 newly qualified lawyers.

The latest comments from across Legal Cheek

Bond Dickinson’s merger comes only a few years after the firm was itself created out of a tie-up between what were Bond Pearce and Dickinson Dees.

Commenting on today’s unification with the US firm, Womble Bond Dickinson co-chair, Jonathan Blair, said:

“This is a combination of two firms with a common culture and a shared commitment to client service. A growing percentage of our clients have operations on both sides of the Atlantic, and Womble Bond Dickinson will provide those clients with the consistent support they value highly.”

The US firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice was established in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Pre-merger the firm had roughly 550 lawyers across 14 offices.

Sticking with merger news, discussions between international crew Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and US outfit Bryan Cave are understood to be progressing nicely.

According to reports, partners at BLP are preparing to vote on the combination in the coming weeks, with a deal potentially being reached as early as 1 January next year. BLP declined to comment.

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Mike Batt

Womble Bond Dickinson: Making good use of the law firms everyday folk throw away.


s.32 Salmon Act 1986

At this point I am genuinely willing to open a crowdfunding account to sponsor these guys to open an office in Wimbledon.



How do I get a training contract with this firm?

Do they have an environmental department?

I’m asking on behalf of my Great Uncle…





Lord Harley of Counsel

As in Cockwomble Bond Dickinson?



top firm



Gonna be on dat £140k US DOLLA YEEEAA BOIIIII



To be fair, good on them. 140k (assuming the new firm pay Cravath rates) is a solid raise for newly minted Bond Dickinson NQs.



More like £38k-40k NQ in regions.


Pale stale male

The guff about a North Carolina firm having a “common culture” with an outfit that partly originates from Newcastle is just risible. The telephone switchboard operators from this side of the Atlantic are going to need training to suppress their giggles as they answer every call with “Womble….”


Eddie Hitler

Hang on! This is Wimbledon Common isn’t it?

I wonder how much meat you get on a womble?



No doubt DWF will be on their way seeking to merge to take on the US side and try to get rid of as much as Bond Dickinson as it can.

And what would the merged firm be called? DWF of course. Such a top firm with a globally-renowned brand.



We should rename you.

Salty McSalty.


Salty McSalty

Alas, a firm that Squire Patton can compare itself to without being way off when comparing itself to the big US outfits.


Marty McBarty

Nice try, but not quite.

You can’t be serious in comparing a firm like SPB (whatever your opinion of them) with a complete non-entity like Womble Carlyle.


Salty McWomble

Gotcha, you’re right.


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