Law firms announce three-way merger

Three law firms - two of them among the UK's most highly rated for planning expertise - have announced that they are to merge, creating the nation's sixth largest legal specialist.

The agreement will see CMS Cameron McKenna join forces with Nabarro and Olswang, creating a combined UK team of almost 2,500 lawyers and a worldwide count of 4,500.

A statement by the three practices said the merger is expected to take effect from 1 May next year. The combined firm will trade as CMS but will be formally known as CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP.

Nabarro was ranked ninth n this year’s annual Planning survey of the UK’s most respected law firms, rising from 12th in 2015. CMS Cameron McKenna ranked 33rd, down from 21st the previous year.

Olswang has a dedicated planning and environmental team, but specialises in technology, media and telecommunications work.

Nabarro managing partner Andrew Inkester said the merger will create a firm that is"more than the sum of its parts".

"Our international scale and ambition will deliver a global sector law firm to meet the future needs of clients and inspire our people," he said. "Our combined talent and economies of scale will also deliver the resources we need to invest in new technologies and transform the way we deliver legal services."

CMS senior UK partner Penelope Warne said the merger will combine "scale with an exceptional depth of sector expertise".

CMS’s statement said the merged firm aims to provide "leadership" across the six sectors of energy, financial services, infrastructure and projects, life sciences and healthcare, real estate, and technology, media and telecommunications.

CMS was asked to provide further details on the implications of the move on the firms’ current planning teams, but had not responded at the time of publication. 

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