Six law firms see merger meltdown

A series of merger talks have broken down in the last two months, leaving several firms looking for alternative mates.

Talks between Birmingham’s Wragge & Co and London’s Tarlo Lyons collapsed in September (The Lawyer, 10 September). The talks began in July, but failed to reach a partner vote.

Wragges senior partner John Crabtree said: “We just couldn’t generate enough enthusiasm to go ahead.” Neither firm has ruled out a future merger.

Next, Theodore Goddard and Salans Hertzfeld & Heilbronn parted (The Lawyer, 24 September). Both said the decision was mutual, but gave different reasons.

Theodores was concerned about global economic uncertainty; Salans wanted to focus on its international offices. Neither firm ruled out resuming the talks later.

Theodores also turned down Eversheds by one vote in 1993 and tripartite talks with Denton Hall and Richards Butler collapsed in 1998.

In September, talks between Cambridge’s Hewitson Becke + Shaw and Oxford’s Linnells broke down. They would have created the first-ever Oxbridge law firm.

When talks began in June, both were confident – a new name, Hewitson Linnells, had even been agreed.