NOTTINGHAM-based firm Browne Jacobson has opened a joint London office with French practice Azema Sells.
The office, based in Aldwych House, includes a partner from each firm – Browne Jacobson's Gareth Edwards and Azema Sells' Peter Sells – and additional fee earners and support staff.
The two firms will work on joint projects from the Aldwych office, but Browne Jacobson's managing partner, Richard Brook, says they will continue to operate as separate business entities.
Browne Jacobson, which plans to recruit a commercial lawyer to work with Sells, will handle the UK side of the business, while Azema's staff will continue with their French caseload.
Brook says although a merger between the two firms “is not necessarily a part of the plan at this stage”, such a move could eventually take place.
“Essentially, we are looking to expand into Europe and we decided the best way to do that was to build a relationship with French lawyers,” says Brook.
“The way into French legal work is very much a question of having people working with us who are French or who understand French law.
“We want to build on the established business that Azema Sells has working for French companies in England.
“The arrangement gives us the benefit of having links with an established firm, as well as opening avenues of business in France.”
Azema's senior partner, Daniel Azema, says: “The combination of our two firms' different legal expertise and experience will help not just the development of our European profile, but also enable us to expand the legal services we offer in other parts of the world.”