Field Fisher and Lawrence Graham abandon plans for £150m merger

Merger talks between Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) and Lawrence Graham (LG) have been called off.

Matthew Lohn
Matthew Lohn

Discussions to create a £150m firm out of the two City rivals have ended before any plans were formally put to partners.

FFW managing partner Matthew Lohn said: “In May we confirmed that Field Fisher Waterhouse had been in talks with Lawrence Graham, exploring the benefits that a merger would bring. We can confirm these talks have now concluded.

“Merger is still an option for Field Fisher Waterhouse – we have ambitious growth plans and merger is one way to achieve those goals.  Whilst there were some good synergies between the two firms we never reached the stage of putting it to partners and are not taking the process forward.”

Dialogue between the two firms over a potential tie-up, which would have placed the combined entity on the brink of the top 20 UK law firms in revenue terms, began in October and were revealed in May.

The Lawyer reported (18 May 2012) that FFW had spoken to a number of firms about a merger.

When merger talks were confirmed, LG managing partner Hugh Maule said there were “few or no conflicts” between the firms and that the link-up would meet the firm’s international expansion and core practice strengthening plans.

Hugh Maule
Hugh Maule

However, today Maule said: “In evaluating a merger between our two firms, we’ve concluded that we’ll be unable to reach agreement and have therefore ended discussions. 

“The fundamentals of a merger were, we believe, sound, and although we’re disappointed in the outcome of what were extremely valuable and interesting discussions, we remain respectful of each other and on very good terms. 

“We’ll continue to focus on our strongest service areas with investment in organic growth and international expansion in line with our strategy.”

An LG-FFW merger would have led to a 1,000-strong firm including more than 200 partners and 440 lawyers.

It was thought that  FFW would move into LG’s More London Riverside offices and it would have meant a joint presence in Germany, Dubai, Russia, France, as well as Manchester and Brussels.