Speechly Bircham is in the final stages of negotiating its takeover of 23-partner West End firm Campbell Hooper.
The tie-up would create a firm with a combined turnover of £61.1m and 85 partners, one of the largest UK mergers of recent years.
It is understood that Campbell Hooper’s staff will move out of their Westminster offices and into a vacant floor in Speechly’s new headquarters in London’s New Street Square.
Campbell Hooper has seen its eight-partner real estate practice and construction practice hit by the property slump and has been struggling to maintain profitability.
A source close to the situation said: “It’s a rescue merger. They’re tying in Campbell Hooper partners on a two-year deal.”
In the 2008 edition of The Lawyer UK 200, which ranks firms in terms of turnover, Campbell Hooper, which is also known for its work in media and private client, had a revenue per lawyer (RPL) of £248,000, close to Speechly’s RPL of £274,000.
Speechlys’ last acquisition was in 1997, when it took over 20-partner Holborn practice Baileys Shaw & Gillett.
The firm declined to comment on the Campbell Hooper merger.