One week after Britons voted to withdraw from the EU, Haynes and Boone announced on Thursday it is merging with Curtis Davis Garrard, a 20-lawyer boutique in London.
Both firm’s partners have voted to approve the deal, but it still requires approval from the Solicitors Regulation Authority. If completed, it would create a 600-lawyer firm and expand Hayne and Boone from 12 offices in the U.S., plus Mexico and Shanghai and into London.
Haynes and Boone Managing Partner Tim Powers announced the merger on Thursday, and said the firms started working on the deal in November 2015. Both have a strong focus on the energy sector; CDG is specifically known as a specialist in maritime law with its senior partner Simon Curtis having authored a book in shipbuilding contracts.
Powers said the merger is important because global business, on the legal side, is “still dominated by the English language and by the common law.”
“More and more, and this trend has been going on for the last 15 years or so, that preferred choice of law has become English law in global transactions,” he said. “That’s not going to change. Whether the UK is in the EU or not in the EU, English law dominance is not going to change.”
Haynes and Boone has hinted at mergers and at London as an area of growth prior to this specific deal, including in a 2005 15-year plan that sought English law capabilities by 2015. It would be called Haynes and Boone CDG in the UK if the deal goes forward, and Haynes and Boone everywhere else.
Powers said he contemplated that the UK would vote to exit the EU, but didn’t think such a vote was likely. They ultimately determined that, regardless of the outcome, it “would not diminish the value of the merger.”
CDG’s Senior Partner Simon Curtis said that “both firms remain steadfast in believing that London will continue to be one of the world’s principal hubs for international business activity.”