Management at the two firms held a number of discussions about a possible tie-up earlier in the year, but Manches pulled away from a full merger. Insiders at the firm said it had instead looked to take over Halliwells’ London office, which was deemed to be its most profitable part.
It is understood the move was rejected by Halliwells, which would prefer a tie-up with the entire firm.
Manches’ family practice was particularly opposed to the move because of concerns about the strength of Halliwells’ family work.
Manches is home to heavyweight partner Helen Ward, who in January snared Formula 1 tycoon Bernie Ecclestone as a client (The Lawyer, 21 January). Originally Ecclestone had instructed Withers partner Mark Harper.