Proteus gains Swedish wing

European law firm alliance Proteus – which has practices in nine European countries – is adding a Swedish practice to its network.

Wagenius & Partners, which is based in Hellingborg, is expected to join Proteus in June, becoming its 10th member firm.

The association comprises small and middle ranking firms.

Two Dutch firms are already included in the line-up alongside practices in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain and the UK.

Managing partner of UK member firm Campbell Hooper, Martin Wright, says that the association is more than just a directory of law firms.

He compares the grouping to the Alliance of European Lawyers in its pre-Linklaters days.

But he says expansion will not cross the Atlantic to include US members. He says the law firm association aims to project a European image.

Wright reasons: “You can't get the integration we are aiming for in a global network.”

The Proteus law firms meet regularly and Wright says he expects a positive result in the June meeting. If it joins, Wagenius will remain an independent practice within the alliance.

While the association expands in Europe, London-based Campbell Hooper has taken the unusual step of producing a business plan which specifically rules out a UK merger.

Following an extensive strategy review, the 15 partner Westminster firm has concluded it does not need to merge with other UK firms or splinter into niche groups to compete in the legal market.

The firm's business plan says: “The future of the firm lies in lateral hires of like-minded lawyers at partner level. Investment will also be made in senior assistants.”