WFW’s Chadbourne power talks

Today’s edition of The Lawyer revealed Watson Farley & Williams’ (WFW) ambitions with news of the firm’s merger talks with New York-based Chadbourne & Parke.

Today’s edition of The Lawyer revealed Watson Farley & Williams’ (WFW) ambitions with news of the firm’s merger talks with New York-based Chadbourne & Parke.

Watson Farley is looking to join a small band of mid-market UK firms to have pulled off transatlantic mergers, the others being Richards Butler (with Reed Smith), Nicholson Graham & Jones (with Kirkpatrick & Lockhart), Gouldens (with Jones Day) and Rowe & Maw (with Mayer Brown).

Talking exclusively to The Lawyer, WFW managing partner Michael Greville explained his reasons: “The two firms do fit very well in a number of ways. WFW is primarily a finance firm which has succeeded in the shipping market. Although we’ve done very well in shipping this is very much a mature market for us. Growth for us has been in energy and in the project finance sector, particularly in the renewable area, such as wind park projects. This is a big area for Chadbourne.”

Like Richards Butler, Greville has realised that shipping as a practice area is pretty much history and is looking to the future. From where he’s sitting, a transformation into what would amount to a powerful global energy and projects boutique looks appealing.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer chief executive Ted Burke also sat down to talk exclusively with The Lawyer last week, and you can read all about a transformation of a very different kind in The Lawyer today.