Integration push sparks CMS name-dropping row

CMS name-dropping row” />A rift over identity has broken out among the CMS network just weeks before its nine firms are due to vote on greater integration.

The thorniest issue is whether firms should drop their individual names to be branded as just ‘CMS’.

Managing partner of Italy’s CMS Adonnino Ascoli & Cavasola Scamoni, Pietro Cavasola, is against ceding the name of his firm, which joined the network in 2002.

“This is still an object of debate. I don’t think it’s something that will be happening on 1 January,” he said. “CMS isn’t merging, it’s converging. Our partners are 100 per cent enthusiastic about CMS, but our historic name is very important and recognisable to our national clients.”

It is understood that Spanish-based CMS Albiñana & Suárez de Lezo is also not keen to cede its identity.

A partner at Switzerland’s CMS von Erlach Henrici was more neutral, explaining that, although he believed the nine firms would not drop their names immediately, it would nevertheless happen within a couple of years.

Meanwhile, a partner in Austria’s CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz said that, although there was no philosophical problem with dropping its name, a legal technicality stopped it from doing so.

“In many jurisdictions it’s not allowed,” the partner explained. “You need at least the name of one lawyer in the name of the firm. This is also a problem in Croatia or Slovenia, where it’s even stricter than in Austria.”

CMS Cameron McKenna, meanwhile, backs clearer branding and said it would gladly drop its historic name if it helped with convergence efforts.

Managing partner Dick Tyler said: “There’s no proposal to drop legal names of firms at this stage, but we do expect to give a greater emphasis on CMS as a brand, be it on pens, in reception areas, business cards and the website, as well as in how we present ourselves to clients.”

As part of the integration, CMS has appointed a director of operations, Matthew Gorman, who will be responsible for risk management, business development, IT and HR.

Gorman comes from a consultancy role at Germany’s CMS Hasche Sigle.