Eversheds is in the market for a new merger partner in the Netherlands after agreeing to break off its exclusive association with Boekel de Nerée
The decision - revealed last week on www.thelawyer. com/lawyernews - comes as litigation partner Alan Jenkins steps into the role of international director, previously held by Victor Semmens, who retires this month. It ends almost three years of association with the Dutch firm, set up with a view to merger. But the relationship has foundered over differences between the two firms' practices and strategies. Jenkins said: "It's a hackneyed analogy, but this was like a courtship. As we got to know each other's practices, we realised that we aren't sufficiently aligned." Jenkins said there was a difference of emphasis at the two firms. "We want to be pan-European," he said. "We're disappointed that our association with Boekel hasn't led to the merger as hoped. We wish our friends in the Netherlands all the very best in the future. Eversheds will continue vigorously to explore other relationships across Europe as part of its ongoing pan-European strategic objective." Jenkins said the two firms would nevertheless continue to work together on an ad hoc basis. The Dutch market has proved increasingly difficult for UK firms. Last month, De Brauw Blackstone Westboek finally rejected Linklaters after almost a year of negotiations. Boekel managing partner Jan ter Meer said: "Of course, we also feel disappointed. The association hasn't brought us the advantages we'd envisaged in terms of developing a pan-European practice. The development of a successful pan-European practice is dependent on establishing synergies and revenue benefits across the different practice areas of the two firms. We had to conclude that it didn't do that." Boekel has maintained its membership of international networks TerraLex and Interlaw, as well as being part of Eversheds International. Ter Meer said: "We remain focused on the international legal market. We will continue to strengthen our practice groups nationally and internationally and remain available for instructions from our leading network of firms." According to ter Meer, Boekel has no plans to link up with another UK firm.