DLA Piper to be biggest law company

Steve Dinneen
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DLA Piper is to merge with Australian partner DLA Phillips Fox to create what it says could be the world’s largest law firm.

The combined entity will create a 700-strong legal empire in the Asia-Pacific region. DLA Piper already employs around 4,000 lawyers across 30 countries and generates revenues of £1.4bn.

It will jump ahead of Chicago-based Baker & McKenzie as the world’s largest law firm by number of lawyers.

The Australian expansion is driven by the boom in M&A. The sector more than doubled last year to $108.5bn (£68.25bn), providing a cash cow for hungry lawyers.

The move is also a strategic step to take advantage of the rapidly expanding Asian economy.

The deal is still subject to a vote from DLA’s partners, who must be 75 per cent in favour of the move. The integration will come into effect on 1 May.

Sir Nigel Knowles, co-chief executive of DLA Piper, said: “The cementing of the relationship between DLA Piper and DLA Phillips Fox is part of our global strategy and is an integral part in helping us become the world’s leading business law firm.

“As part of our strategy we are committed to expansion within the G20 nations, and with Australia as the 14th largest industrialised nation it provides excellent opportunities with its strong ties to some of the most rapidly growing economies in Asia.”

DLA Piper was created in 2005 by the merger of DLA, Piper Rudnick and Gray Cary.