US firm Proskauer Rose's hunt for a European base appeared to move a step closer with visits last month to the UK and Ireland by two of the firm's senior partners.
The sighting in particular of managing partner Allen Fagin in Dublin sparked talk among local lawyers that the firm was considering launching an office in the city.
The firm's lead partner refused to rule out opening in Ireland, but said the firm had "no present inclination" to open in the city and that any move was not presently under consideration.
Fagin, who had been a guest of the US ambassador in Dublin, said the visit was a "fact-finding" mission, designed to explore the economic climate in Ireland. He said he found it "extremely healthy and expanding", with "significant activity" in the manufacturing, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors in particular.
Proskauer's hopes of a tie-up with a UK firm look to be more likely, however. "The UK remains seriously on our agenda," said Fagin. "It's extremely important to us and we continue to explore a variety of opportunities. I wouldn't characterise any of them so far as beyond initial talks, however."
In June last year, Proskauer's merger talks with Richards Butler, now seeking a deal with Reed Smith, ended due to the two firms' disparate profits.