a year ago this week

Camerons unveils SA alliance

Cameron McKenna became the first top 10 law firm to form an alliance with a South African practice.

It joined up with black empowerment firm Canca Inc in Cape Town and "white" practice Jowell Glyn & Marais in Johannesburg in an exclusive alliance.

The deal was set up by energy partner and head of the firm's Africa group Paul Biggs, and was looking for work in the energy sector. Canca has a good relationship with energy company Engen, while Jowell Glyn specialises in corporate, M&A, banking and IT work.

Canca signed up in the belief that the move would enable it to recruit good quality lawyers.

One year on in August, Paul Biggs left for Cadwalader taking a team of four with him.

Since Cameron McKenna moved into South Africa, Denton Wilde Sapte has made its first foray into east Africa by setting up an association with leading Tanzania firm Mkono & Company.

Dibbs merges with Hong Kong firm to boost China presence

Dibb Lupton Alsop merged with Lui & Carey to help launch a springboard offensive into China.

Lui & Carey are a broad-based commercial firm with clients including Procter & Gamble, Colliers Jardine and Citibank.

Dibbs' regional managing partner Stewart Crowther said at the time that the newly merged firm would be used as a base for venturing further into the Chinese mainland. The firm already had an alliance in Hong Kong with Charltons which deals with Chinese stock exchange work.

One year on, DLA has just applied to open an office in Shanghai.

CCRW in West Coast office plan

Clifford Chance Rogers & Wells announced plans to open in Silicon Valley. The proposed office would be the first for the merged firm in the US outside New York.

Rogers & Wells managing partner Larry Cranch said: "If you look at the US economy and look five years down the road, so much activity relates to high-tech computer and biotechnology companies. Some of our large clients, like Genetec, are there already."

One year on, the office still has not opened and Osborne Clarke's alliance OWA has opened an outpost in Silicon Valley.