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Grundberg Mocatta Rakison (GMR) disappeared this year from The Lawyer UK 200 Annual Report 2009. The reason? On 1 May the London-based boutique merged with US firm McGuireWoods.
The UK arm now trades under the name McGuireWoods London. The greatly expanded firm’s London partners say that in the six months since the deal went live, the benefits of being part of a larger international firm are abundantly clear.
“We had 36 fee-earners at the time of the deal,” says managing partner Anders Grundberg. “Now there are 47.”
Recent new recruits include a group of four litigators from Steptoe & Johnson featuring partner Adam Greaves, offshore specialist Peter Goddard, who joined from an in-house position in the Cayman Islands, and Petar Orlic, who joined as a senior associate from Paul Hastings. The firm also says it has not lost a single lawyer at any level since the merger.
The London team has not only been boosted by hires, but earlier this year McGuireWoods vice-chair Peter Covington relocated to the City.
“It’s very rare to have such a senior lawyer relocate to help with integration,” says Robert Rakison, another former name partner of the legacy London firm.
Rakison, who as a former partner at McDermott Will & Emery has previous experience of working in a US firm, says Covington’s move is an indication of how keen the McGuireWoods partners were on ensuring the merger was a success.
“The success of this deal is largely due to the sensitivity shown by the US partners to cultural differences,” claims Rakison. Rakison has joined the main board of McGuireWoods while Grundberg has gone on to the strategy committee. “They clearly want to hear what we have to say,” adds Rakison.
London is generally cited by expansionist US firms as a launchpad into Europe, but in GMR’s case it is probably more true than most.The firm’s 50-odd lawyers speak a total of 27 languages between them. Handy for when McGuireWoods decides to stretch out even further afield.