Eversheds is understood to be in the final stages of negotiations to establish an alliance with highly-rated Cologne firm Cornelius Bartenbach Haesemann & Partners.
A deal with the 50-lawyer firm would be a major breakthrough for Eversheds' international ambitions and for new international head Alan Jenkins.
Cornelius Bartenbach is a solid Mittelstand firm with a sound regionally-based corporate and M&A practice. It is nationally recognised for employment and intellectual property. Real estate, construction and media are also seen as pillars of the practice. A lockstep firm, it is known for its strong culture. Corporate star Dieter Korten declined to comment on the talks.
A deal would build on Eversheds' successes in securing alliances with Italian firm Piergrossi Villa Bianchini Riccardi and Qatar firm Al-Jufairi. The Italian firm has since merged with labour law firm Benvenuto Barozzi Scherini. Eversheds also has a highly successful alliance with Singapore firm Khattar Wong & Partners.
With the groundwork put in by retired international head Victor Semmens, Eversheds' strategy is now to identify small firms growing their international connections.
Last year, its alliance with national Dutch firm Boekel De Nerée broke down. Three years ago, Eversheds lost out to Norton Rose by one vote when partners at Gaedertz elected to enter merger talks with a UK firm. Gaedertz subsequently split and Eversheds was pipped to the post again by Norton Rose, which secured the Cologne office. Eversheds' management did not respond to calls about the negotiations.