Chadbourne rebuilds after failed merger

Chadbourne & Parke

aims to double the size of its London office and focus on its corporate practice group in the wake of failed merger talks with Watson Farley & Williams (WFW).

Chadbourne managing partner Charles O’Neill highlighted London growth as being crucial to the firm’s international success. The firm has 45 lawyers based in the capital permanently.

“We’re a relatively small office in London and we have a lot of work generated out of this office,” said O’Neill. “Eastern European work and our Middle Eastern office are doing extremely well.

“This work is strongly connected to London, so we need to have a more significant presence on the ground.”

Last year (18 June 2007) The Lawyer revealed that Chadbourne was in merger talks with UK firm WFW.

If the combination, which was abandoned in November, had gone ahead, Chadbourne would have benefited from an existing 120-lawyer base in WFW’s London office.

By the same token, WFW staff would have joined forces with the 250-strong office in Chadbourne’s New York headquarters.

O’Neill said: “We’re certainly looking to recruit from the lateral market into our London office to develop and increase our presence. Our minds are open and we would be open to the possibility of a future merger.”

O’Neill highlights the firm’s presence in emerging markets as a key aspect of its recruitment strategy, with US and UK lawyers having the opportunity to work in Chadbourne’s offices in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Last year (17 December 2007) The Lawyer reported on Chadbourne having snared a three-partner projects team comprising Agnieszka Klich, Jon Nash and Sohail Barkatali from Berwin Leighton Paisner.