Leading US firms in search of UK suitors

Leading firms in Washington DC and New York have put themselves up for sale with an eye to attract UK firms in a “merger of equals”, states a Washington-based legal search firm.

Klein Landau & Romm's Garry Klein said two profitable Washington DC practices had entered the market after their senior partners conducted a review of domestic and international options. He added that they were looking for a true merger with a UK partner.

He said several Washington-based boutique IT, telecoms and energy regulatory specialists were also looking to link up with similar UK firms.

Klein refused to name the firms on his books but Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Steptoe & Johnson and Arent Fox Kinter Plotkin & Kahn are all believed to be interested in a UK merger. Despite this, Cameron McKenna is the only UK firm to set up a Washington DC office and Norton Rose has so far failed to find a New York merger partner.

Gilles Thieffry, head of capital markets at Norton Rose, said of setting up a New York office: “There would need to be links with a medium-sized US firm.”