Law firms Speechly Bircham and Withers in talks on £170m merger

 
Elizabeth Fournier
PRIVATE practice specialists Withers and Speechly Bircham yesterday confirmed they were in early-stage merger talks to create a new law firm with around 500 lawyers.

In a joint statement, the firms said: “Withers and Speechly Bircham can confirm that they are in preliminary discussions regarding a potential merger. Both firms see exciting opportunities for growth in such a merger.

“Both Withers and Speechly Bircham have been growing their international offering in response to changes in the global legal market and the increasing importance of private capital in the world economy,” they added.

The larger of the two – Withers – was founded by lawyer brothers in 1896, and employs around 700 people across 11 international offices, including more than 100 partners.

It has recently expanded into Singapore and Zurich, and made revenues of around £113m in 2012-13 financial year.

Speechlys meanwhile employs 400 people and 90 partners and was based solely in London until 2011 when it opened offices in Luxembourg and Zurich. In 2009 it merged with West End firm Campbell Hooper

According to its website, it had an annual turnover of £57.6m in the year to 30 April 2012.

“There is still a lot more work to be done before any final decision can be reached and so we will not be issuing any further comment at this stage,” the firms added.