Bryan Cave In Merger Talks With UK Firm Berwin Leighton Paisner

The large St. Louis-based Bryan Cave is in merger talks with London-based Berwin Leighton Paisner, the two law firms said in a joint statement Monday.

The combined firm would have 1,500 lawyers in 32 offices across 12 countries, covering markets in the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, according to the joint statement. It would offer a wide range of services, with a focus on M&A, real estate and hospitality industries, financial services, international litigation and corporate risk, according to the firms.  

“If we combine we will operate without regard to geographic boundaries,” Therese Pritchard, chair of Bryan Cave, said in a statement. “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 internationally.”

Lisa Mayhew, managing partner of Berwin Leighton Paisner, said the firms have a “complementary heritage” and “the same ambitions for the future.”

The merger is not final and remains subject to approval by partners at both firms later this year, the firms said. The deal is also subject to the resolution of any client conflicts.

Bryan Cave ranked 57th in the American Lawyer’s 2017 ranking of the highest-grossing firms in the United States for financial year 2016, down one spot from the previous year. The firm reported a slight drop in its gross revenue, down 1.5 percent, to $608,000,000 in 2016. But its profits per equity partner went up 7.5 percent to $865,000. 

Berwin Leighton Paisner, meanwhile, saw the opposite trend over the past two years. The firm’s profit per equity partner fell by nearly 8 percent from 2015-16 to 2016-17, to £630,000 ($834,806), according to Legal Week. During the same period, its revenue increased 7 percent to £272,000,000 ($360,424,480).

Berwin Leighton Paisner briefly entered merger talks with Greenberg Traurig in 2016, but the deal fell through because of Greenberg Traurig’s “conservative approach to financial risk” and desire to preserve its culture, BLB reported at the time.

 

Contact the reporter responsible for this story: Stephanie Russell-Kraft at srussellkraft@gmail.com.

Contact the editors responsible for this story: Casey Sullivan at csullivan@bloomberglaw.com and Tom Taylor at ttaylor@bna.com.