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THE LONDON branch of Eversheds has finally negotiated a merger with City firm Waltons & Morse.
Waltons' insurance, corporate and property groups will join the Eversheds City office from 1 May leaving the shipping group to continue practising independently under the Waltons & Morse name.
The merger will add 11 partners to Eversheds' already 44-strong London team and will boost its national insurance litigation team to 67, the second largest in the UK.
Eversheds approached Waltons last autumn after stating a commitment to develop its insurance practice. Waltons' client base includes Lloyd's of London and overseas insurance companies.
Peter Scott, Eversheds managing partner, said: "For some time we've identified the London market for insurance as an area in which we wanted to extend our City presence further.
"We are looking to develop the practice in a very focused way towards insurance, banking and corporate finance."
Waltons' senior partner John Rothwell will be joining Eversheds as a partner in the property department. He said: "The shipping department would have been welcome to join us if they had wanted but they are organised in a very different way and practise as a niche area of the law. The combination of our own and Eversheds' insurance expertise will become a significant new force in the London market."
David Perry, head of the shipping group, will remain with his team at Waltons' City office. He said: "Eversheds' approach was very attractive but for the purposes of the London market there was no need for our services to be part of a national firm.