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Dundas & Wilson joins CMS, further strengthening its energy and financial institution practices and Scottish business


Dundas & Wilson, the leading Scottish law firm, is to join CMS, the world’s tenth largest global law firm[1]. The merger will be completed by 1 May 2014.

Dundas & Wilson will join the CMS UK partnership. With the addition of Dundas & Wilson, CMS will have over 830 partners and 5,600 employees operating in 57 offices in 31 countries across the world, with revenues of circa €900m.

Both CMS and Dundas & Wilson have leading and complementary energy and financial institutions practices and together the combined firm will have an even stronger offering in the two sectors. The firm will be a top quality law firm in the UK’s three key financial centres, London, Edinburgh and Glasgow, with a high quality alternative service delivery option.

With a significant number of clients in common, the firms sought the views of a number of its joint clients before deciding to progress. All clients spoken to were resoundingly positive about the combination and the service the two firms will be able to deliver together.

The combination of the two firms will create a more flexible operating model which clients are demanding. The combined firm will have top quality City and Scottish practices together with a near-sourcing offering which can bring savings and efficiencies to clients without compromising the quality of services delivered. In sharing their views on the combination, major clients of both firms expressed the view that a premium London, Scotland and Bristol service delivery model could be a market differentiator for the combined firm, and an attractive option. Dundas & Wilson also brings to CMS an established legal services unit in Glasgow.

Scotland is a key market and differentiator for CMS, which established an energy-focused office in Aberdeen 20 years ago and an Edinburgh office 15 years ago. Dundas & Wilson, founded in 1759, is one of the most prestigious law firms in Scotland with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and London. The firm has Scotland’s greatest number of band 1 rankings in the Legal 500, and it has featured consistently in the Financial Times’ Innovative Lawyers awards.

This deal is led by Managing Partner, Duncan Weston, Senior Partner Elect, Penelope Warne and Stephen Millar. Penelope and Stephen head the CMS Energy and Scottish practices and have opened project offices in Brazil, Dubai and Mexico. At Dundas & Wilson, the deal is led by Lawrence Ward, Chairman and Managing Partners, Caryn Penley and Allan Wernham.

Duncan Weston, Managing Partner, CMS in London, comments: "Dundas & Wilson is the most prestigious law firm in Scotland and we are delighted that they are joining CMS. With Dundas & Wilson, we believe we can offer many of our clients, particularly in the Energy and Financial Institution sectors, a stronger and better service.”

Stephen Millar, Practice Group Manager for Energy, Projects & Construction, CMS, comments: "There are strong and compelling client synergies. Clients want law firms that can combine depth, breadth, quality and value simultaneously. CMS and Dundas & Wilson together does just that. We have been very pleased by the response from clients.”

Caryn Penley and Allan Wernham, Co-Managing Partners of Dundas & Wilson, comment: “We believe that together Dundas & Wilson and CMS would have unrivalled strength and depth in Scotland, an exceptional UK platform and global reach.”

[1] Based on number of lawyers (Am Law 2012 Global 100)