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Nabarros targets European best friends relationships" />Nabarro Nathanson is set to shun the US, overhaul its European best friends network and expand it to Italy and Spain.
The Lawyer understands that selected Nabarros partners are increasingly networking and meeting potential best friends in both Italy and Spain, while Scandinavia is also understood to be in the firm's sights.
"There's been a decision internally that we'll turn our back on the US in favour of European growth through the best friends network," a Nabarros partner told The Lawyer.
The firm currently has best friends relationships with GSK Gassner Stockmann & Kollegen in Germany and August & Debouzy in France.
Nabarros international committee chair Michael Hales said the firm was "always open to opportunities", but declined to confirm that the firm was in discussions.
"No doubt there are a number of firms who would find [a best friends relationship] very appealing," commented Hales.
A Nabarros insider said: "Unless you're a very big international firm, it can be very hard to recruit the best lawyers in foreign markets, whereas you can have that with a best friend.
"I wouldn't be happy referring a client to the seventh-best lawyer in Barcelona just because he's on our payroll, especially not when we could have the best lawyers on our team through a best friend."
Hale said that any formal best friend would have to meet strict criteria of being an exclusive best friend and being a top-quality law firm able to relate to Nabarros "on a personal relationship level".
"If you look at the two firms we have already, both have set up in the past 10 years, both are young and energetic and hungry, both are first rate in real estate and both have a similar average partnership age to Nabarros of about 43," Hale said.