US pair scout City for London launches

Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell and Troutman Sanders are gearing up for London launches, joining the ranks of US firms intent on conquering the City market.

Texas-based Locke Lord is understood to be talking to a team at Salans, with a view to a City raid of corporate, commercial and consumer finance lawyers.

The energy and insurance specialist, which has a City office but no London-based lawyers, has been seeking a UK launch for years, and held merger talks with ­Barlow Lyde & Gilbert in 2006 and 2007.

A firm spokesperson said: “For some time, we’ve been considering growth options that provide synergies with our US core practices including corporate, banking, energy, insurance and financial services.”

Meanwhile Atlanta-based Troutman, also known for energy and insurance work, is understood to be casing partners ahead of a relaunch. The firm opened a small City base focusing on energy and emissions trading in 2001. This had three partners in 2008, but the firm now has no London-based lawyers.

A source close to the firm said Troutman is keen to use a revamped London base as a link to its offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai.