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CAMERON Mckenna - best known for its expansionist designs abroad - has turned its attention closer to home with the surprise launch of a corporate practice in Bristol.
The three-partner team, to be set up in June and led by Michael Jones, is to operate under the banner "City expertise - Bristol-based" and will bolster the profile of the office's existing three-partner banking practice there.
Camerons' announcement fo- llows hard on the heels of south-west firm Bond Pearce's decision last month to open in Bristol in direct competition with former M5 partner Burges Salmon.
Jones, who is currently based in the City, said the firm had been considering how to expand the firm's Bristol operation for more than 12 months.
Cameron Markby Hewitt, before its merger with McKenna & Co, opened an office in Bristol in 1990 to service one of its major clients, Lloyds Bank.
According to Jones, the office has long since outgrown its original purpose.
Camerons' move has been welcomed by one of its rivals in Bristol. Osborne Clarke head of corporate Simon Beswick said there was room for a third heavyweight corporate firm in Bristol to act in deals along with his firm and Burges Salmon.
"It all helps to put Bristol on the map," Beswick added.
Jones will be supported full-time in Bristol by fellow corporate partner Louise Wallace and three-year qualified assistant Fiona Labrum.
Camerons' joint head of corporate Guy Billington will also devote two to three days a week to developing the Bristol corporate practice, although he will continue to be based in the firm's London office.