DLA advances on Europe with Netherlands merger

DLA is continuing to spread through Europe after voting through a merger with its Netherlands firm SchutGrosheide last Thursday (4 December).

The deal will see DLA take on both the Amsterdam and Rotterdam offices of the 32-partner firm, which is believed to generate around E30m (£21m) annually.

Eight of the 32 partners will join as equity partners, with Frans Stibbe maintaining his role as managing partner. Former SchutGrosheide managing partner Robert Broekhuijsen will be working within DLA’s central management, reporting directly to managing partner Nigel Knowles. Broekhuijsen handed over SchutGrosheide’s reins to Stibbe six months ago.

SchutGrosheide, which has 115 fee-earners, will be integrated into DLA as of 1 January 2004, and will also become part of DLA LLP. It will be known as DLA SchutGrosheide.

The firms have worked together for the past three years and share a number of common clients, including Bridgepoint and CMG Logica.

Knowles told The Lawyer: “The integration will further strengthen the relationship as well as offering greater scope to capitalise on cross-border opportunities, to the benefit of both clients and staff.”

DLA’s expansion in Europe has been rapid. Already this year it has launched in Central and Eastern Europe with the acquisition of Austrian firm Weiss Tessbach, and has taken on the Milan office of Coudert Brothers. Last year, it took on practices in Belgium and Spain.

The deals could generate combined revenue of between E85m-E100m (£59.6m-£70.1m) for DLA in the next financial year.

DLA also has associated European firms in France and Germany, as well as three Scandinavian firms, which it is thought to be considering for further integration.