LONDON Oct 4 Norton Rose, the UK law firm, has
sealed its second Canadian merger in as many years in an effort
to beef up its mining and energy practice and expand into South
America and Central Asia.
Norton Rose, which has been aggressively expanding since
2009, said it would team up with Canadian energy and
resources-focused practice Macleod Dixon to create an enlarged
group with combined turnover of more than $1.25 billion.
John Coleman will remain managing partner of Norton Rose
Canada while Bill Tuer, managing partner of Macleod Dixon, will
join Norton Rose Group's executive committee after the deal that
brings lawyers in Colombia, Venezuela and Kazakhstan under the
Norton Rose umbrella.
Once completed in January 2012, the deal will create one of
the world's top five top international legal practices by
headcount with more than 2,900 lawyers in 43 offices worldwide
-- including more than 200 energy and 200 mining lawyers.
Norton Rose will still fall short of the "magic circle" of
top London law firms in size, but it hopes its increasing
strengths will help it secure its ambition of finding the right
cultural fit with a U.S. law firm in two to five years.
"Ultimately, we have to be there, for sure. It's an
imperative but it's not time critical," Chief Executive Peter
Martyr told Reuters. "There will be a time for us to do it with
a firm or firms that suit, or see the world the way we see it."
Martyr said there were a "good bunch of firms in the U.S."
who might make good partners. He declined to give any details.
(Reporting by Kirstin Ridley)