15 November 2012

Norton Rose seals Fulbright & Jaworski merger

London-headquartered Norton Rose is to combine with Houston-based Fulbright & Jaworski next year, creating a global top-10 law firm with almost 4,000 lawyers.

By James Barnes

Houston: home to Fulbright & Jaworski

The merger, set to take place on 1 June 2013, will see the formation of Norton Rose Fulbright. The combined firm will boast 55 international offices, including 11 in the US staffed by around 800 lawyers.
The firm will also stake a claim as a market leader in several sectors, including pharmaceuticals, financial institutions, infrastructure, mining, technology and transport.
Current Norton Rose chief executive Peter Martyr commented: ‘The US legal market is the largest in the world and our combination will create a truly global practice with significant depth of expertise in the world’s principal business and financial centres.’
Steven Pfeiffer, chairman of Fulbright & Jaworski’s executive committee, added: ‘Fulbright’s combination with Norton Rose will expand our global platform and enable us to provide an even broader range of services to our clients. We will be an international leader in providing seamless and superior client service.’

Portuguese first

Meanwhile, Lisbon-founded law firm Miranda is to open a London office, marking the first opening by a Portuguese practice in the UK capital.
The firm, which operates predominantly in Portuguese-speaking countries, claims the office will be more than just a link to Portugal. In a statement, Miranda says the office will ‘present a fast track connection to a number of sub-Saharan Africa's most rapidly expanding economies’.
Miranda will not practise English law, but the office – which will be headed by Nuno Antunes -- will continue the firm’s strategy of bringing services closer to investors, companies and other law firms. The practice now has offices in 14 countries.

Niche labour

Also coming to London is Atlanta-based niche employment law firm Ogletree Deakins, with offices opening in the UK capital and Berlin. The firm’s managing partner, Kim Ebert, explained the move as being client driven: ‘Our US clients have expressed frustrations with the options for handling their employment law matters internationally, and we initiated our expansion in response to those concerns.’
The London office will be led by Michael Webster, founder and joint managing partner of London niche practice Webster Dixon. While the Berlin office is poaching a group of lawyers from the local office of international law firm Salans, including Hendrik Muschal, who chaired that firm’s employment department.

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