Mergers give birth to 'superfirms'

THE MERGER between Nabarro Nathanson and Turner Kenneth Brown has finally gone through, creating a commercial London-based firm of 128 partners and 370 other fee-earners and putting it at number 10 in The Lawyer Top 100.

Nabarros brings 107 partners and 295 fee-earners and TKB contributes 21 partners and 75 fee-earners.

The new firm, called Nabarro Nathanson, will have one more fee earner than City litigator Herbert Smith, but has nine more partners.

David Bramson, Nabarros senior partner, says: “TKB's lawyers are first-rate and the deal enables us to add extra depth to certain client services that Nabarro Nathanson offers.”

TKB managing partner Jim Edmundson, who remains a partner in the new firm, says: “We feel comfortable with the people and the culture, and there are obvious synergies. We have been looking for a partner for around a year, because we realised that this was the best option for increasing the professional services we provide.”

Last weekend TKB staff began a three-month project to move into Nabarros' Stratton Street offices.

Macfarlanes has acquired the smaller of TKB's two old buildings – the 22,000 sq ft space at 3/5 Norwich Street.

Macfarlanes acquired it from landlord Forextra, and will spend nine months refurbishing it. The firm will use it to expand facilities such as the print room and staff restaurant, and for extra offices.

PINSENT Curtis – the new top 20 national practice formed by Pinsent & Co's merger with Simpson Curtis – will create a major City force by trebling the current London practice over five years to around 300 fee-earners.

The expansion will be based on the existing team of around 46 lawyers with other fee earners, established by Pinsent & Co and led by ex-Clifford Chance corporate finance lawyer Paul Downing, now London managing partner of Pinsent Curtis.

That team already had an established niche in corporate finance work, with a client base including smaller public companies of £20 million-plus.

The strategy now is to compete for higher-value work and to expand insurance, banking and City litigation work

A venture capital law national practice is also a “key objective”, says Julian Tonks, previously senior partner of Pinsent & Co and now of the new firm. “We plan to double the office in two years and double it again over the next two.”

v A five-fee earner property team has split from Simpson Curtis to join Fladgate Fielder. The team originally came from disbanded firm Cannons. Founder Eamonn Cannon is one of two partners in the team. Pinsent Curtis, which began merger talks five months ago, decided that property development work would not fit in with the new City strategy, says national managing partner Malcolm Lloyd, former Simpson Curtis managing partner.