BLP set for transatlantic deal with NY's Kramer Levin

The alliance, which is seen as the prelude to merger at a later date, is the first stage of an all-out joint attack on the European market, and represents the first transatlantic law firm deal since Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw.
BLP managing partner Neville Eisenberg said: &#34There isn&#39t a model for this. There are failed models, but we&#39re trying out a new method. We&#39re not just getting together to do a bit of joint marketing and so on &#45 there is a clear business plan to build up the European network.&#34
Kramer Levin managing partner Paul Pearlman said: &#34This is a joint collaboration between London and New York to establish a European network. We have a number of clients with a international presence, and have been looking at international expansion for a relatively long time.&#34
BLP has been trying to internationalise its practice ever since its merger in 2001. It currently has a small office in Brussels and is known to have been scouting Germany for a tie-up, but has never succeeded in building a Continental practice.
The Kramer Levin alliance will hand it immediate representation in Paris and Italy. Its six-partner Paris office was originally part of Rogers & Wells, but spun off at the time of the merger with Clifford Chance, while the 30-lawyer Milan office is an association with Studio Legale Santa Maria.
Eisenberg said: &#34We&#39ll be looking at how to progress plans to attract [firms in] Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.&#34
According to AmLaw 200, Kramer Levin turned over $133m (£85.3m) last year, with average profits per equity partner of $795,000 (£510,000). According to The Lawyer 100, BLP turned over £86.2m, with profits per equity partner at £260,000.