Countdown to a merger

March Rogers & Wells and Clifford Chance management meet by chance at a US conference and informal discussions get under way

7 December New York Observer breaks news of merger talks between Clifford Chance and Rogers & Wells. Clifford Chance also starts talks with Australian firm Mallesons Stephen Jacques

25 January Story that the two firms are in talks breaks in the UK. Clifford Chance and Rogers & Wells are in weekly meetings to hammer out merger terms

February Clifford Chance's advances to Germany's Bruckhaus Westrick Heller Lober and Boesebeck Droste fail

April Clifford Chance approaches Punders for merger. Clifford Chance and Rogers & Wells meet in Florida for a weekend

21 May The executive committees of Rogers & Wells and Clifford Chance vote in favour of merger

14 June The Lawyer reveals that Rogers & Wells Paris office is planning a breakaway

5 July The Lawyer reveals that Clifford Chance is in merger talks with German firm Punder Volhard Weber & Axster

10 July Partners at Clifford Chance and Rogers & Wells vote in favour of merger. Clifford Chance and Punders agree in principle to merge. Clifford Chance partners see details of proposed merger with Mallesons Stephen Jacques

September Clifford Chance, Rogers & Wells and Punders to vote on tripartite merger

1 January 2000 Clifford Chance, Rogers & Wells and Punders due to merge