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CMS, Nabarro and Olswang complete largest ever merger in UK legal sector

Creating a new future-facing firm

1 May 2017

CMS UK, Nabarro and Olswang today announce the completion of their transformational merger, creating a new London powerhouse and the 6th largest law firm in the UK by revenue and 6th largest globally by headcount. Globally, CMS has over 1,000 partners and 5,000 lawyers in 70 offices across 39 countries.

Penelope Warne, The Senior Partner for CMS in London comments:

“Today is an important day for the firm and for our clients. We have made this bold move with one goal in mind: to build a new kind of future-facing law firm. By combining top quality sector expertise with international scale and a strategy to become a progressive technology driven firm, we are better equipped to deliver excellence for our clients in a rapidly changing market.

“We are united in our vision and values. We are focused on building a successful, dynamic and modern law firm with a supportive culture so that careers at CMS can thrive. Diversity & Inclusion, CSR and top quality training through our CMS Academy will continue to be a priority for the firm.”

Sector strength

The new firm has six specialist sectors – Energy, Financial Services, Infrastructure & Project Finance, Life Sciences & Healthcare, Real Estate, and Technology, Media and Telecommunications. The combination's natural synergies allow the new firm to work at the cutting edge of sectors, such as FinTech and EnergyTech, to meet growing client demands.

Stephen Millar, Managing Partner in London comments:

“Today we are presenting a new and dynamic firm to the market; one that blends scale with an exceptional depth of sector expertise. I look forward to seeing our firm make the most of the opportunities that the merger presents; in particular exploring the opportunities that arise from both the cross fertilisation of our market-leading practices and sectors and our expanded global footprint.

“It has been an exciting journey so far and we have been impressed by the high level of collaboration between colleagues, not only in London but also across the UK and internationally. We have big ambitions for the future and see today as a launch pad for greater things. This merger is about a real collection of histories and cultures coming together, and achieving great things for the benefit of our clients and our people.”

Ciaran Carvalho, CMS Head of Real Estate and Legacy Nabarro Senior Partner, adds:

“The commitment of our firms to this combination is already reaping rewards. With hundreds of referrals generated and new opportunities created, the complementary nature of our sectors is already proving an exciting and potent proposition. It is not just that we are market leading in six key sectors that is important; it is the overlap between those sectors. That is where we will see new possibilities, innovation and growth.”

Client focus

The combined partnership is a modern firm that is uniquely positioned to provide clients a distinctive offering with deep sector experience across an extensive international platform.

Paul Stevens, CMS Executive Partner and legacy Olswang Chief Executive Officer, comments:

"This is a momentous milestone in the history of our three firms as we combine as one. I am delighted by the opportunities this next chapter presents for our people, but in particular, I am confident that it massively improves our ability to best serve clients and propel us forward in the legal marketplace.

Our clients, although different in their sectors and industries, have been at the very bedrock of this decision to combine, and all of our integration efforts throughout the last six months are evidence of this. Our strength in depth means that we are able to now advise on transactions, deals and cases of all sizes and scales whilst retaining our respective sector specialisms. It is these distinctive teams that our clients will continue to look to as strategic advisors now and in the future."

Global integration

The last six months have seen a highly effective integration programme led by an in-house management team at CMS in London. All staff in London will be located in CMS’ modern technology driven office, Cannon Place. Internationally, teams in Germany, Belgium and Spain are already integrated, and new office plans are underway in Dubai and Singapore, with full integration of legacy CMS, Nabarro and Olswang offices intended to take place in the coming months.