Norway’s Simonsen and Vogt & Wiig combine to create new powerhouse

Norwegian firms Simonsen and Vogt & Wiig have announced they are merging, forming a firm with 180 lawyers and offices across Norway and in Singapore.

The merger will take effect on 1 January 2013. Simonsen brings 95 lawyers and a staff of 35 to the combination, while Vogt & Wiig has over 80 lawyers. Simonsen Vogt & Wiig will be headquartered in Oslo with offices in Bergen, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Trondheim and Tromsø as well as Singapore, courtesy of Vogt & Wiig’s presence there (26 February 2007).

Simonsen Vogt & Wiig will be the third-biggest firm in Norway, behind Wikborg Rein and Thommessen.

The firm’s managing partner will be Mona Søyland, currently chairman of Simonsen’s board, while Vogt & Wiig managing partner Frithjof Herlofsen will become the combined firm’s chair.

Herlofsen told The Lawyer the two firms had been in negotiations since the summer.

“As part of our own strategy we’ve been keen to grow to be able to meet the demands of what we think the market will demand in the future,” Herlofsen said.

He said Vogt & Wiig saw synergies between its own strong shipping practice in particular and Simonsen’s focus on oil and gas.

The largest department in the new firm will be corporate, but it will also have a 17-strong litigation team.

Herlofsen added that the firm’s Singapore office had been performing strongly and was attractive to Simonsen, which does a lot of business in Asia.