Marks & Clerk and Blair & Co push MDP boundaries

The UK’s largest firm of patent and trademark attorneys Marks & Clerk is bringing its associated law firm Blair & Co under the Marks & Clerk banner and has challenged the Government to speed up the process that would allow it to operate as a fully merged multidisciplinary partnership (MDP).

The heads of the two firms claim that the artificial restrictions in rules preventing full integration annoy and confuse clients, especially those from overseas.

Marks & Clerk senior partner Chris Gibson said: “While the Government and [Sir David] Clementi are consulting and making up their minds, we’re going ahead and doing it, because that’s what our clients are asking us to do.”

Blair & Co managing partner Mark Blair added: “We’re as close to an MDP as you can get under the current regulatory framework.” Blair will head Marks & Clerk Solicitors, the new name for his firm while Marks & Clerk Patent and Trademark Attorneys will continue as it is.

Blair said: “The Law Society’s views are that they want to move along the lines of MDPs. There’s commitment there in principle, there’s commitment from the Government, but nothing much has happened.”

Blair & Co sought guidance from the Law Society on its new structure and was informed that it would have to remain independent and not share fees. The two firms will be managed separately, but the law firm’s strategy will be discussed at board level in Marks & Clerk.