CMS considers dropping branding as it homes in on US deal

The CMS network, which includes UK firm CMS Cameron McKenna, is considering dropping the ‘CMS’ identity as part of its hunt for a US member.


Matthew Gorman
Matthew Gorman

The network is sending scouting parties to the States over the summer led by three of the international network’s most influential partners: UK managing partner Duncan Weston, executive committee chairman Cornelius Brandi and French managing partner Pierre-Sebastien Thillare. Senior sources at CMS confirmed that the appetite for attracting a significant new member is such that it is prepared to consider dismantling previously sacrosanct elements of the network’s infrastructure including its ‘CMS’ identity.

“But the US firm would need to give ground on their name as well,” confirms the source.

The extent of CMS’ desire to attract a new US member is revealed in an in-depth feature in today’s The Lawyer in which CMS executive director Matthew Gorman provides some specifics of what Weston, Brandi and Thill will be looking for on their travels.

Duncan Weston
Duncan Weston

“It would most likely include a New York capability, a Washington capability, and decent national coverage, which means capability on the east and west coast,” said Gorman. “And then the right cultural fit. We think we’re an attractive proposition but it’s a two-way street. Any [US] partner would have to offer us things in return.”

This year for the first time CMS has made a play to make itself more attractive by producing a single revenue and profit figure for the CMS network. The move highlights the size of the network, which last year posted a total revenue of £691.97m. In contrast CMS Cameron McKenna, the network’s largest single firm, posted a total turnover of £167.58m last year.

Camerons’ average profit per equity partner (PEP) however significantly exceeded that of the 10-firm network. Camerons’ PEP was £631,883 while that of the CMS network was £464,796.