Barlow Lyde & Gilbert and Clyde & Co are to vote on a merger that would create a 1,000 lawyer firm. Well, at least until the departure of under-performers and those who lose work from the inevitable conflicts, that is...

The legal press was buzzing last week with speculation over the potential merger, with talk of a new top ten firm and speculation as to its name (surely Barlow Clyde & Gilbert?). But it would hardly be a merger of equals: BLG may be Clyde's biggest competitor in the insurance market, but it's still a lot smaller with its £94.5 million being well under half Clydes' £212 million.

On the face of it there's plenty in such a deal for Clydes, which gets to knock out the competition and pick up some great lawyers. And BLG's star performers would ultimately earn more wedge (albeit working for partners they've previously spent their careers dissing). But merging two firms with such a strong focus on insurance would inevitably create a significant number of conflicts. And for those BLG partners who are suddenly seen as a drag on profits from Clyde & Co's perspective, the outlook would certainly be less than rosy.

    How the new firm will look 

Despite all this David Jabbari, BLG's Chief Exec, was pretty gung ho. He told RollOnFriday that whilst a merger was just one of several options, "it's easy to see the obvious potential of such a combination". Whether he can persuade his fellow partners is another matter.
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