'A natural step' - CMS adds latest base with Norwegian tie-up

Kluge is set to join the firm in October as it looks to develop its Nordic platform

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CMS is set to join forces with Norwegian law firm Kluge, adding four regional offices and 153 lawyers to the international firm’s European network.  

Kluge will join CMS as a full member firm in October this year. The firm will retain its management and ownership model across its offices in Stavanger, Oslo, Bergen and Hamar under the new mantle CMS Kluge. The tie-up brings CMS’ total office count to 79, with more than 5,000 lawyers spread across 44 countries. 

Matthias Lichtblau, CMS executive director, cited CMS’ existing client base in Norway as a key motivator behind the merger, adding that the combination is a “natural step” as the firm looks to develop its Nordic platform. "Our clients see Norway as a major opportunity since it's a highly successful export-oriented economy, with an increased focus towards renewable energy and more sustainable business,” he said. 

Founded almost a century ago, Kluge currently boasts 53 partners and 200 professionals, and has built up a strong track record in the energy, construction, infrastructure and public sectors. 

As a result of the deal, both firms will benefit from increased cross-border advisory opportunities, with Kluge set to gain greater international standing amid its strong domestic performance and heightened demand from local clients for cross-border legal advice. 

CMS and Kluge said they will combine their strategies related to the environmental, social and governance (ESG) movement, which both firms consider “vital” to their growth strategies going forward.

Bjornar Alterskar, managing partner at Kluge, said: "Our clients increasingly expect that we can provide seamless legal advice on cross-border matters. By joining CMS, we will become part of a unique collaborative structure and be able to efficiently draw upon a large pool of highly specialised resources all over the world." 

New technology also played a role in the deal for the two firms, with Kluge set to harness CMS’ international network of resources to develop tech-focused solutions for their clients, Alterskjar said.  

By adding Kluge to its office roster, CMS returns its attention to strengthening its European foothold, joining DLA Piper as one of the few global giants to set up shop in the Norwegian legal market. 

While CMS has a strong presence in many key European markets, it has opted to skip over Europe in its most recent expansion moves. The firm opened its sixth office in the Middle East last September in Abu Dhabi and has added multiple locations in Africa and Latin America over the last five years.  

Earlier this year, CMS also promoted a record 52 lawyers to partner, with 46 of the promotions coming out of its offices in the UK and continental Europe. 

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