Olswang’s continental European offices have been warned they will not be automatically included in the firm’s three-way merger with CMS and Nabarro, The Lawyer understands.
The offices in Brussels, Madrid, Munich and Paris have been told they must negotiate the integration of their teams with CMS’s local offices or look for alternative homes.
An ex-Olswang partner told The Lawyer that it was likely that the single-partner offices would be absorbed by CMS in Europe, while the larger teams “may have more trouble” with their negotiations.
Olswang currently has six offices outside of the UK, four of which are in Europe, and a total of 14 partners across its network.
Olswang’s Paris office led by Guillaume Kessler has seven partners, while Munich has five partners and Madrid and Brussels have a sole partner each, Blanca Escribano and Dirk Van Liedekerke.
Should they decide against attempting to integrate with CMS’s local offices, sources point to real estate costs being the largest problem for European partners.
CMS’s presence in Europe somewhat dwarfs Olswang’s, with 28 offices in total. However the overlap between the two firms is total, as CMS has offices in eight cities in Germany including Munich, two offices in Belgium (Antwerp and Brussels), three offices in Spain (Madrid, Barcelona and Seville) and an office in Paris.
It is understood that Olswang’s Munich partnership is weighing up its options on whether to continue ahead with the merger or integrate with a different international firm.
It is not clear whether the Asia offices (Hong Kong and Singapore) are subject to the same conditions as their European counterparts.
Olswang CEO Paul Stevens has been approached to comment.
A spokesperson said: “We can confirm that three-way discussions are actively on-going between Olswang’s UK LLP, the CMS UK LLP and its European affiliate partnerships, and we are working hard to achieve an outcome that is satisfactory to all parties.”
CMS, Nabarro and Olswang partners voted through the firms’ three-way merger last month, which is expected to complete next May.
The new firm will be called CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang, but will trade as CMS. Under the terms of the merger, Nabarro and Olswang will join the CMS UK partnership and move into its City premises in Cannon Place.
After the merger announcement, CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro and Olswang told their business services support teams that all roles are up for grabs at the merged firm, putting around 850 UK-based non fee-earning roles into consultation.
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