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New York firm Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson is forming an alliance with Canada's biggest law firm McCarthy Tetrault.
The cross-border link-up is the first between two top-tier North American practices, according to the firms, and will concentrate on capital markets, corporate finance and M&A transactions.
The alliance is not a first step towards a merger, say the firms, but a means to offering a seamless service to the increasing number of clients doing business in both countries.
The move is 500-lawyer Fried Frank's first international alliance outside the US or UK.
Toronto-based McCarthy Tetrault has more than 600 lawyers worldwide and has eight offices in Canada as well as a presence in London.
Kenneth Blackman, chair of Fried Frank's corporate department in New York, says: "We recognise that legal advice on cross-border transactions, where events can develop in a matter of hours, can best be delivered to clients through a strong proven national law firm presence from both sides of the Canada-US border.
"Canada is the US' biggest trade relationship, and when McCarthy Tetrault asked us if we were prepared to join with them we were pleased."
McCarthy Tetrault securities lawyer David Judson is moving to New York to lead the cross-border arrangements.
Owen Johnson, chair of McCarthy Tetrault's business law section in Toronto, says: "Our clients require sophisticated and integrated cross-border advice to take advantage of the growing number of business opportunities in the US."