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Clifford Chance's Italian alliance partner Grimaldi has voted unanimously in favour of merger with the magic circle firm.
The timing of the decision to turn the formal alliance between the two into a merger is believed to have been influenced by the Italian boom. Sources believe that the core areas of banking, finance and corporate work are set to continue increasing by 15 to 20 per cent annually.
One source close to Clifford Chance says: "It is important to incorporate firms if you believe in a global firm strategy."
The merger is still subject to the approval of Clifford Chance partners but they are expected to ratify the deal by mid to late September.
Magic circle firms have benefited from Italian clients shifting their emphasis away from sole practitioners to the larger firms.
Clifford Chance has experienced moderate growth in Milan but there has been significant growth in Rome and Padua. The latter benefits from the large number of Italian companies now seeking stock market listings.
The merged offices will have 25 partners with a total of 130 lawyers.