Leading insurance practice Berrymans Lace Mawer has finally agreed a joint venture deal with a Dubai firm.
The firm is in the final stages of signing a formal alliance with niche United Arab Emirates practice James Berry & Associates Legal Consultants.
The move strengthens Berrymans' Dubai practice after a rocky 12 months. Last July, head of the office and partner Nigel Truscott left to join Denton Hall.
Construction specialist Jason Blick took over from Truscott. But earlier this year he announced was also leaving - for Sun Microsystems (The Lawyer, 8 May).
National senior partner Paul Taylor says "the deal has not been signed" but confirms alliance discussions are now finalised.
He adds: "James Berry is a long-standing and highly respected firm. It is a good fit and there are a number of clients that we share."
Although full merger has been ruled out, Taylor adds that the joint venture will see the two firms having "increasingly closer ties".
Part of this will be a relocation of Berrymans' office to new premises closer to James Berry's operation in the ABN Amro Bank Building.
Niche practice James Berry has been in Dubai for the past 11 years and is well-regarded in corporate and commercial work.
Its main clients include international oil and construction companies.
Name partner Berry says Berrymans was an obvious choice for them: "They set up an office in Dubai five years ago and we have always had a really good relationship with them. It gives us a bit more breadth in our activities."
Berrymans has yet to find a replacement for Blick.