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DLA Phillips Fox to merge with DLA Piper
04 February 2011
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They've been flirting with each other for years but it wasn't until last week that long-anticipated merger between DLA Phillips Fox and DLA Piper was announced. A union that will make DLA Piper the biggest law firm in the world.

The firms have been affiliated since 2006 and DLA Phillips Fox seems to have spent much of the last few years getting its house in order for the merger. It beefed up its corporate and banking practices whilst shedding less lucrative departmentsditched financially separated from its NZ offices and lost its entire Adelaide office (which formed Aussie Firm of the Year winner, Fox Tucker). Plus the firm welcomed a raft of partners shipped over from DLA Piper's beleaguered Middle East practice.

  Celebrating the merger yesterday

So it's been a long road but, subject to a favourable vote from the partnership this month, the two firms will become one on 1 May 2011. The new DLA Piper powerhouse will boast 4,000 lawyers across 30 countries, according to a report in Lawyers Weekly. DLA Phillips Fox CEO, Tony Holland, boasts that the merger will create "the world's largest business law firm and the largest global firm in Australia".

The union is being billed as a marriage of equals but, given the disparity between the firms (DLA Phillips Fox has just five offices) and the fact that it will be adopting the DLA Piper name, it looks a little like DLA Phillips Fox is being swallowed by the DLA Piper empire. However, unlike Norton Rose and A&O's Australian tie ups, the firm's partners will at least get their hands on a share of the UK and European profits from the outset.

This merger is not likely to be the last as other UK and US firms - most recently Clifford Chance - eye up the region for potential hook ups. Watch this space


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