Bryan Cave and BLP confirmed this week that their partners have voted in favour of a merger.

A BLP statement said the new firm will be formed in April this year, would have combined revenues of over US$900 million and would go by the name of "Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner". Rolls off the tongue. RoF bets a pound to a penny that it won't be long until Leighton Paisner is erased completely*. 

When the merger goes live it will result in a 1,600 lawyer firm with 32 office in 11 countries. Lisa Mayhew, BLP Managing Partner, said the two firms had "shared values and culture" and a "determination to do something fresh and different for clients" with their "approach to innovation". Therese Pritchard, Chair of Bryan Cave, vowed to "redefine efficiency and value in the practice of law” adding that the takeover merger would “result in an expanded presence and set of service offerings in key markets around the world".

Stanley Berwin never did mirror flex selfies  

Spare a thought for the late Stanley Berwin, whose name has now been sandpapered off the doors of two City firms. He would have been spinning in his grave when SJ Berwin merged with King & Wood Mallesons in 2013, increasing to 1000 rpm when KWM went bust in 2017.

When asked why Berwin was dropped from the new firm's name, a BLP spokesman told RollOnFriday it had to be shortened "for ease of use". He said, "we kept ‘Paisner’ as both Harold and Martin still work at the firm and so, given that Leighton and Paisner link in the existing name, it made sense to keep ‘Leighton’ as well – so ‘Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’. It makes it shorter and retains enough recognisable brand recognition". That sound is Berwin revolving faster than a tennis shoe in a washing machine.

*US firms have form on ditching the legacy UK firm name. When Jones Day merged with Gouldens in 2003, within nine months Gouldens was gone. The Jones Day Gouldens branding was so fleeting that umbrellas bearing the name are now collectibles, much like Rolex Daytonas or Stradivarius violins but infinitely less valuable.
Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 06 March 18 14:12

The Jones Day Gouldens umbrella story was much funnier than described above (although possibly slags off the US less, so not such a popular line). It was always intended that Jones Day Gouldens would lose the Gouldens when the planned office move (already in the pipeline for Gouldens prior to the merger) happened some nine months later - if you are changing business cards anyway, that is the time to change a name. Unfortunately, Gouldens management was always a bit... relaxed, and tended to over-enthuse on independence for junior staff. In the spirit of this, someone in marketing took it upon themselves to get new JDG umbrellas, and ordered a five figure number of them, without bothering to check what the name change plans were. The firm kept handing them out for years and years, with the wrong name, and much cheaper quality than the Gouldens umbrella (which is a collectors item - I have one).

Anonymous 06 March 18 15:46

Those umbrellas!

My boss and I were covering our specialist area on a corporate deal with JDG on the other side. He insisted that I come with him one afternoon to visit their office in person.

We turned up at reception and he demanded to see the partner on the other side immediately. The partner did see us - we had a coffee, ate their biscuits, made polite chit chat about everything but the deal (finishing with "Anyway, so we'll send the mark up across by email") and left. On the way out of the door into the sunshine, my boss nicked a branded umbrella and told me loudly to take one too.

I thought he was odd at the time, and nothing has changed.

Anonymous 07 March 18 02:30

This is a good move for two solid firms with compatible market profiles. Bryan Cave have married up slightly, but that's what superior US profitability buys.

Anonymous 08 March 18 09:27

Talk about brand recognition but essentially this is just A N Other (LLP) law firm

If brand is so important, then I am surprised the big players are not taking over and dominating the market rather than having 100's of "big" law firm options.. No other industry has so much choice without there being a very obvious scale of top tier (only a few firms), middle tier (a few more and some niche firms) and everyone else.....