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Olswang is to merge with Garretts' Reading practice
The merger saves the 30 fee-earners in the former Andersen Legal practice from an uncertain future and Olswang has agreed to take on all of the office's future trainees as well. Olswang chief executive Jonathan Goldstein revealed that the firms had started talks two weeks ago on learning that Field Fisher Waterhouse had pulled out of negotiations with the Reading office. He said that the merger was an opportunity for Olswang to gain a geographical foothold within the M4 corridor. Clients of the office are understood to include Vodafone and Compaq. The office also works for Thames Water. Goldstein reinforced that Olswang was still committed to technology, media and telecoms despite the technology downturn. "We're not diverging from our sector. This confirms our commitment to the market," he said. The eight Reading partners from Garretts will be incorporated into the existing Olswang teams in London. Goldstein said that he was satisfied that Garretts' Reading team will keep its client relationships, even though Garretts relied so heavily on referrals from Andersen. "We did the due diligence, spoke to the clients and every one of our partners has met their partners," he said. Until the Olswang merger vote, Garretts' Reading office was the only former Andersen Legal office that had not at least partly entered into a deal with another firm. However, it has met with a better fate than Garretts' London office, which has split. Seven London partners are joining Taylor Joynson Garrett and two have agreed to go to Bird & Bird. But the future of some London trainees and fee-earners is still uncertain. Addleshaw Booth & Co and Beachcroft Wansbroughs have taken on partners and fee-earners from Garretts in Manchester. Garretts' entire Birmingham practice joined Pinsent Curtis Biddle last month. Garretts was left out in the cold when the UK accountancy practice of Andersen agreed to merge with Deloitte & Touche without its legal arm following the Enron debacle. However, Deloittes in Spain has also just entered into a formal alliance with the substantial tax practice of former Andersen Legal Spanish firm Garrigues.