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THEODORE Goddard has sold its half share of its four Eastern European offices to its US joint venture partner Dewey Ballantine, ending its hopes for a merger.
The offices, which TG opened jointly with Deweys in 1991, are in Budapest, Prague, Warsaw and Cracow.
TG's Warsaw partner Bruce McGregor will return to the London office in the autumn. The Cracow office was staffed only by local Polish lawyers and the Budapest and Prague offices were already managed by Deweys partners.
The two firms' close association was announced with a fanfare in 1991, but Simon Stubbings, TG's managing partner, said they were now going in different directions.
Deweys wanted to boost its capital markets side while TG wanted to concentrate on its media and communications sectors alongside "key areas of finance".
Deweys' London partner, Brian Morris, moved from TG's office two months ago to set up alone, and said he aimed to recruit 10 to 20 lawyers including English lawyers. "We want to integrate our London practice with our Central and Eastern Europe practices," said Morris. "It makes sense to have sole ownership and management of those offices."
Stephen Denyer, of Allen & Overy's Poland office, commented: "It is very difficult to maintain alliances between American and English firms simply because Americans increasingly want to practise English law."
Nabarro Nathanson and US firm Weil Gotshal & Manges ended their exclusivity contracts and office sharing in London, Warsaw and Budapest at the end of last year.