CLIFFORD Chance's US ambitions may be bigger than previously thought amid rumours that it is to merge with New York's biggest firm, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.
Sources suggest reports of ongoing merger talks with medium-sized firm Rogers & Wells are being used as a smoke-screen for a much bigger move.
Skadden Arps, which has more than 1,000 lawyers, is thought to be the real target.
According to New York lawyers, Skadden Arps has massive expansion plans.
It is disappointed at the slow progress of its worldwide plans, so a link-up with Clifford Chance would provide a swift solution.
A merger would immediately put Clifford Chance on the New York map. Observers say the culture within the firms is similar enough to ease any merger pains.
Neither firm was willing to comment on the reports.