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FOURTEEN-partner commercial Exeter firm Stones is swallowing up its five-partner neighbour Cann & Hallett.David Cox, practice manager at Canns, said the main reason for the move was the "tremendous competition" in the region.The new firm Stones Cann & Hallett will have 16 partners and 40 other fee earners, and will have offices in Exeter and Okehampton.Cox admitted there would be redundancies as a result of the merger but said that the firms had agreed to keep them to a maximum of five.Only two of Cann & Hallett's partners Nick Dyer and Jeremy Browne will become equity partners in the merged firm, but one will have a place on the management board.The future of salaried partner David Brock is uncertain and it is thought unlikely that he will be joining the new firm.The two remaining Cann & Hallett partners will change status. Robin Challans will become a consultant and Zara Svenson an associate.Stones' managing partner Hugh Winterbotham said his firm had been looking for a merger partner for some time.
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