Berwin Leighton Paisner and Bryan Cave took the unusual step this week of announcing that they are discussing a merger.
The transatlantic tie-up would create a law firm with 32 offices in 12 countries and a platform of 1,500 lawyers. In Asia, BLP has offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore, and has practice heads for Indonesia and Myanmar, while St Louis-headquartered Bryan Cave has offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
“Our two firms share a strong commitment to innovation in the interests of our clients,” said Lisa Mayhew, managing partner of BLP. The firm’s innovative offerings include managed legal services, visualisation, streamline process mapping and a wide range of practice innovations such as litigation financial forensic services.
“We also have an unusually strong cultural fit with a mutual focus on collaboration across our businesses in the interests of deep and lasting client relationships,” said Mayhew. “It is encouraging for the potential firm that BLP and Bryan Cave both have this complementary heritage, but crucially also share the same ambitions for the future.”
Bryan Cave focuses on transaction, litigation and regulatory practices, and offers a range of process improvement and project management services to corporate legal departments.
“If we combine we will operate without regard to geographic boundaries,” said Therese Pritchard, chair of Bryan Cave. “Our firm would be one of only a handful of global firms operating in a one-firm structure with more than 500 lawyers in both the US and also internationally. We will seamlessly provide counsel to clients across the globe, deliver client service at a new level and use technology and innovation to redefine efficiency in the practice of law.”
The transaction is not final and is subject to, among other things, the resolution of all conflict issues and approval by partners at both firms later this year.