Law firms Womble and BDB Pitmans call off merger talks

Signage is seen at the legal offices of the law firm Womble Bond Dickinson in Wilmington, Delaware
Signage is seen at the legal offices of the law firm Womble Bond Dickinson in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., June 9, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
  • Womble Bond Dickinson and U.K. firm BDB Pitmans had entered early merger discussions last year

(Reuters) - Global law firm Womble Bond Dickinson and smaller U.K. firm BDB Pitmans have abandoned merger talks after "extensive discussions," the firms said in a joint statement Wednesday.

"Both firms have decided that the best path forward is to remain independent of each other," the statement said. The law firms said in October that they were in early talks to merge.

The firms said through a spokesperson they will not provide additional comment.

It is not uncommon for firms to start discussions that do not result in a deal, with client conflicts and market mismatches among issues that frequently derail talks.

Womble Bond Dickinson, a much larger firm with 1,000 attorneys, is the product of a 2017 transatlantic merger between North Carolina-based Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice and U.K.-based law firm Bond Dickinson.

A combination between Womble and BDB Pitmans would have created a firm with more than 1,200 lawyers, and given Womble a stronger hold in the U.K. legal market.

Law firm mergers have been heating up, with several notable combinations announced this year involving big firms, such as Holland & Knight's deal with a Nashville-based firm and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe's planned combination with Buckley.

Read more:

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Law firms Womble Bond Dickinson, BDB Pitmans in talks for transatlantic tie-up

Hogan Lovells, Shearman & Sterling respond to reports of merger talks

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Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at