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Cameron McKenna is to expand its European empire westwards with the announcement next month of a major new network. The firm is to follow Linklaters & Alliance's lead by creating an instant reach into western Europe which, it is hoped, will eventually lead to full mergers. Although the firm is staying tight-lipped about the details, it is believed to involve six major countries in western Europe, including France, Germany, Spain and Italy. The firm also has associations in Denmark and Sweden. Other than Brussels, Cameron McKenna does not have western European offices, although it has a strong presence in eastern Europe with practices in Hungary, Poland, Russia, Uzbekistan, and plans to open in Romania. An internal source says the network is a precursor to eventual mergers across Europe once regulatory problems have been sorted out and individual deals have been forged with merger partners. No details have been released as to which firms are to forge the alliance, but the source adds that the firm will build on existing working relationships. Cameron McKenna has associations with Sigle Loose Schmidt-Diemitz, which has offices in Berlin, Chemnitz, Frankfurt, Leipzig and Stuttgart in Germany, Berning Schluter Hald in Copenhagen, and Tisell & Co in Stockholm. However, a source at another City firm with a substantial presence in Europe is cautious about following Linklaters' example. "What I hear from Continental lawyers that I come across is that the jury is still out on the Alliance, and that neither the people involved or clients are entirely convinced. "It will take a lot of work to create a proper partnership in which both the internal and external workings come together to form one body. "But the idea of creating a pan-European presence is to be applauded as clients are increasingly looking for that. "Clients are not convinced by a loose alliance, and it would be very difficult for Cameron McKenna to follow Clifford Chance's organic growth across Europe because it is very expensive, and takes years."