Partners at City outfit Bircham Dyson Bell will vote on a tie-up with Pitmans later this month, which could create a firm with just over £52m in revenue.
The firms said they have entered into exploratory merger discussions, with the vote scheduled for 27 September.
They said: “We have decided to make this announcement now so that we can be transparent with our staff and clients throughout the process. As the discussions progress we will make further announcements.”
If the discussions result in a merger, it would bring the combined firms’ headcount to 80 partners and 404 staff.
Bircham Dyson Bell is by far the bigger party, posting revenues of £33.7m for the 2017/18 financial year. Pitmans’ turnover growth has slowed in the last few years, growing 0.5 per cent in 2016/17 and nearly 2 per cent in the last 12 months from £18.5m to £18.8m.
The pair’s average profit per equity partner is much the same; Bircham Dyson Bell posted a figure of £224,000 in 2017/18 compared to Pitmans’ £250,000.
The merger would add offices in Reading and Southampton for Bircham Dyson Bell, which has just two offices in London and Cambridge. London is the only city in which the firms overlap.
It is not Pitmans’ first foray into law firm tie-ups, sealing a deal with City-based Calverts Solicitors in 2015 and adding £1m to its top line.