Camerons' alliance strategy shaken by Danish takeover

One of Cameron McKenna's alliance partners, Schluter & Hald, has merged with a firm from a rival alliance, leaving a question mark over the future of the firm's foreign network arrangements.

The move comes just a month after Camerons launched its alliance, CMS.

The firm's Danish partner has merged with Copenhagen firm Dragsted & Helmer Nielsen to create the largest law firm in Denmark.

Schluter & Hald is part of CMS but Dragsted & Helmer Nielsen, which is double the size of Schluter & Hald, is a member of World Law Group.

A source at a rival Danish firm says of Schluter & Hald's link with Cameron McKenna: “The question now is whether they will want to stay together.”

The source says the relative sizes of the Danish firms effectively make the move a takeover not a merger.

Lego Andersen, partner and board member of Schluter & Hald, says the merger had the full support of all the partners and has had an enthusiastic response from all employees and in the market.

“We don't expect any merger hangovers,” he says.

But full integration will mean review of international strategy, says Andersen.

He estimates that it could take up to a year to iron out the finer details. “International strategy is a very delicate matter,” he says. “We want to make a well-considered decision.”

The newly-merged firm Dragsted Schluter Helmer Nielsen now has 36 partners and more than 100 lawyers.

Dick Taylor, partner at Cameron McKenna and mastermind of the CMS European strategy, says: “We are looking on the merger quite positively.” However, he confirms that the firms will be meeting to discuss the implications for CMS. He says there will be no conflict issue as CMS firm Derks Star Bussman Hanotiau in The Netherlands and Belgium is a member of World Law Group.