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Pinsent Masons has made its first bid to become an international force by forming an exclusive European alliance, called PMLG, with Germany's second-largest independent firm Luther and a number of other firms. It hopes the move will be the first step on the road to a full merger.
The exclusive alliance has been fostered over the past year, as first revealed by The Lawyer (10 October 2005), and will be formed with firms from Austria, France, Hungary and the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) with 'very best friends' in the Czech Republic, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland, which are not yet able to join the alliance.
"This is not a referral network - it will fail if it becomes that. This has a trajectory that will lead to some sort of convergence. That's the natural next step," said international operations partner Tony Bunch.
Former EY Law firm Luther finally split from Ernst & Young this month. Luther, which houses 210 lawyers and has an annual turnover of £50m, joins the alliance with other EY Law firms Karasek Wietrzyk in Austria and Luther Fest & Kajli in Hungary. The French firm, Granrut Avocats, is an old friend of Pinsents going back to legacy firm Biddle.
The alliance will number 360 partners and 1,300 lawyers across 33 jurisdictions.
The alliance will prioritise corporate, IP/IT, competition, employment, projects/PFI and real estate as key practice areas.