CMS, Nabarro and Olswang agree three-way legal tie-up

The UK legal sector is to see its largest-ever merger after three law firms agreed a deal to create the world's sixth-biggest practice.

The tie-up between CMS, Nabarro and Olswang is due to complete in May. Picture: Craig Stephen
The tie-up between CMS, Nabarro and Olswang is due to complete in May. Picture: Craig Stephen

Described as creating a “new City powerhouse”, the tie-up will see Nabarro and Olswang join the CMS UK partnership, which will be become the UK’s sixth-largest law firm with revenues of about £450 million and almost 2,500 lawyers.

CMS, already the biggest law firm in Europe, has Scottish offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, having completed its merger with Dundas & Wilson in 2014.

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Senior UK partner Penelope Warne said: “This is an important merger for our clients and for our people.

“For our clients we want to be a firm that delivers excellence, industry knowledge, thought leadership, and the exceptional talent that will help to meet their needs in a complex and changing business environment. And for our people, we want to be a firm that is dynamic, progressive, technology-led, with a good culture which supports diversity and inclusion and all aspects of our colleagues’ careers. We believe that if we can deliver on this vision we will be an even more successful, world-class firm.”

The deal, due to complete on 1 May, will see the Nabarro and Olswang names disappear, with the enlarged firm trading under the CMS brand.

Nabarro managing partner Andrew Inkester said the tie-up will create a firm that is “more than the sum of its parts”, with more than 1,000 partners and 7,500 employees across 36 countries, and global revenues in excess of €1.2 billion (£1bn).

He added: “Our international scale and ambition will deliver a global sector law firm to meet the future needs of clients and inspire our people. Our combined talent and economies of scale will also deliver the resources we need to invest in new technologies and transform the way we deliver legal services.” 

Olswang chief executive Paul Stevens added: “We are delighted to be a part of this game-changing new business with CMS and Nabarro to form a top-quality, modern law business, which has superior client service and strategic sector alignment at its core.

“Together, we materially strengthen all of our practice areas in the context of a firm with 65 offices worldwide. This new partnership will provide our new firm’s clients with a cutting-edge service in our strategic sectors as they grow their businesses and brands in the future.”