CMS Cameron McKenna to pilot Russia merger

<a class=CMS Cameron McKenna to pilot Russia merger” />The CMS alliance has taken its first steps towards full integration with a plan to merge the Moscow offices of three of its members.

The Russian practices of CMS Cameron McKenna, CMS Hasche Sigle and CMS ;Bureau ;Francis ­Lefebvre are to be brought together as a single firm by the end of the year, The Lawyer can reveal.

The move will be the first full merger of alliance ­members, which currently operate as separate firms under the CMS brand.

Camerons managing partner Duncan Weston said: “This is the first time we’ll have created a single business which has a ­number of shareholders but operates as an integrated business. I think it’s a massive step for CMS.”

The practice will operate as a single profit centre and will be owned jointly by the CMS founder members. With 150 lawyers under one roof, it will be the largest office of any firm in Russia.

The Moscow office of Clifford Chance, the network’s biggest competitor in the region, has 117 fee-earners.

Earlier this year CMS voted for closer integration of its nine European members, but stopped short of discarding local firm names under the banner of CMS.

Weston ;denied ;that the Moscow plan was a ­precursor to a wholesale merger, adding: “It’s a trial for developing markets where other CMS firms have interests. Can we do it together in new markets?”