Osborne Clarke is laying the groundwork for a launch in Brussels as the firm continues its European expansion amid merger discussions with Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW).
The firm is in talks, which come alongside advanced plans to set up shop in Paris, with partners on the ground in the Belgian capital about a practice launch in the city.
The firm closed its presence in Belgium and France earlier this year after ending its relationship with the countries’ De Wolf & Partners and Stehlin & Associés respectively when the UK firm merged with its Spanish and Italian alliance firms (29 March 2012).
The move also saw it close its alliance with Dutch firm Ploum Lodder Princen.
Osborne Clarke CEO Simon Beswick told The Lawyer: “Any firm with an international strategy has to give Brussels serious consideration, as the centre of European legislation. We’re approaching our international expansion in a structured way so, as you would expect, we’ve considered and earmarked a number of locations that we believe represent opportunities for the firm. As yet, however, these remain strategic targets and not material openings.”
The firm has already declared its intention to launch in Paris by the end of the year (1 June 2012).
Osborne Clarke is one of three top 40 firms in talks with FFW over a merger, with the deal potentially creating a £200m combined business (17 September 2012).
For more on merger talks between FFW and Osborne Clarke, see news analysis.