French firm Bignon & Lebray is strengthening its position within the Commercial Law Affiliates (CLA) as it announced plans to merge with a Lyon-based firm.
The news came as CLA struck one London firm off its list of potential UK members, while continuing talks with a further three. The merger with 13-partner DMG will create a 36-partner firm, with major offices in Paris and Lyon and smaller offices in Lille and Aix-en-Provence. Bignon Lebray Delsol & Associés, as the new firm will be called, is expected to come into being this month. Bignons partner Jean-François Adelle said the move was significant because it will increase Bignons' size and market share. The firm already has offices in Paris, Lyon, Aix-en-Provence and Lille, but the merger will strengthen the Paris and Lyon offices in corporate, labour law and tax. DMG will also add associations law to the firm's profile. It is also important for DMG. Adelle said: "The merger helps us both. DMG needed a stronger presence in Paris and wanted to be part of a national firm." After the merger, CLA will reassess the new firm for membership, but Adelle was confident that the merger will increase the firm's profile and make it a more attractive proposition for the alliance. CLA has European members in Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungry, Iceland and Italy. It has been seeking a UK member since Hammond Suddards Edge left the alliance following a dispute over the speed and strategy of integration. Hammonds is now in preparation for merger with Paris firm Hausmann & Associés. CLA has been in talks with four UK firms, but negotiations have whittled the candidates down to three. All three firms are in the top 20 of UK firms, but a decision on the successful firm is not expected until September.