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THE long-awaited merger between national practice Eversheds and City firm Jaques & Lewis has been finalised.
The move took place on 9 January after months of talks between Eversheds and several City firms, including Theodore Goddard.
The new London practice will be known as Eversheds Jaques & Lewis until June, when regional titles will be dropped and all firms will adopt the name of Eversheds.
The merger - which is expected to bring only a handful of fee-earner and staff redundancies - makes the firm the second largest in the country and fifth largest in the world, with 950 fee-earners, 273 partners and over 2,000 staff.
Eversheds national managing partner Peter Cole says the move will give the firm an extended legal network in the US and Europe, where Jaques has offices in Brussels and Berlin. One third of the City firm's work is international.
He says the firm will open offices in other European centres "within the forseeable future" and form "strategic alliances" in the US.
"On the international front Jaques & Lewis fit the bill," says Cole. "Their strengths are in Europe and the US where we see our greatest potential."
Jaques managing partner Peter Scott says the firm has been watching the "Eversheds phenomenon" for some time, and "we now wish to become a part of the new national firm which is being built.
"It gives us access to a wide range of practice skills and resources; it gives us the ability to service clients both in London and across the whole country and it gives us an expanded international presence."
Scott says the merger vote among the 50 partners was unanimous and, although the firm, with a total of 157 fee, earners will lose its name, "we're very happy to practice under the name Eversheds".
"Our view is that the national spread is going to act as a magnet for new business both in the UK and internationally."
However, both Cole and Scott confirm the practice will continue to maintain individual profit centres. There are no plans to move to a single financial system.
The administrative headquarters of Eversheds and its current London practice will move to the City firm's offices at Senator House. The Gunpowder Square premises will be let.