CITY firms Hobson Audley and Hopkins & Wood are expected to announce they will be merging to create a 14-partner practice called Hobson Audley Hopkins & Wood.

The firms, founded in the early eighties, have been in talks since last July to form a more broadly based firm working in corporate law, litigation and commercial property with specialist areas such as intellectual property, IT, multimedia and electronic commerce.

Four salaried partners – Simon Rendell, Andrew Saul, Kieran O'Connor and Adrian Lifely – will leave Hopkins' company commercial and litigation departments to join the company commercial department at Bristol and London firm Osborne Clarke.

It is believed Hopkins & Wood has been considering a merger for some time due to financial pressure and was previously in talks with Glasgow firm McGrigor Donald.

Roger Hopkins, senior partner at Hopkins, said: “Many City law firms are experiencing financial problems and from a business standpoint this merger represents a turn for the better.”

Senior partner at Hobsons Gerald Hobson said: “It makes sense to merge two sets of overheads into one. Our firms are a perfect fit for each other and offer complementary skills.”