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Monday, July 12, 1999 Published at 05:45 GMT 06:45 UK

Business: The Company File

Merger creates legal giant

More than 2,700 lawyers will work for the merged firm

Law firms from the UK, the US and Germany are to join forces to create the world's largest practice with an annual turnover of more than £625m.

Partners at the UK commercial law firm Clifford Chance have voted to merge with US company Rogers & Wells on 1 January next year.

Managing Partner Keith Clark explains the thinking behind the merger
Now the German law firm PŁnder, Volhard, Weber & Axster will join the deal, creating a practice with more than 2,700 lawyers.

The firm will be known as Clifford Chance and Rogers and Wells in America and Clifford Chance and PŁnder in parts of Europe.

Clifford Chance managing partner Keith Clark, who will be the merged firm's chief executive, said he anticipated growing demand "among the world's leading financial institutions and multinational corporations for a top-tier law firm with the capability to advise on the full spectrum of major domestic and cross-border transactions across a range of jurisdictions".

The firms provide financial, corporate, banking and capital markets legal services among others.

Their clients include Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Chase Manhattan, Deutsche Bank and Coca-Cola.

'Great opportunities'

Mr Clark told staff at Clifford Chance's London offices: "We are making legal history. I am delighted to let you know that with the outcome of the partners' meeting this weekend we have taken a major step towards our goal of becoming the world's premier law firm."

He added that the firms partners had "voted by 96% to merge with the US law firm Rogers & Wells on 1 January 2000 and partners at Roger & Wells also voted overwhelmingly in favour.

"Subject to a vote in September on some remaining details, we will also merge with PŁnder, Volhard, Weber & Axster on the same date."

He added: "There are great opportunities for everyone. I hope you are as excited about this as I am."

Staff will be given full details of the merger later on Monday.

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