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Norton Rose Merges With Fulbright & Jaworski to Form Top-10 Firm

Norton Rose LLP and Fulbright & Jaworski LLP are merging to put it among the 10 biggest law firms in the world by revenue.

The partners approved the combination earlier this month, the firms said today. It will operate as Norton Rose Fulbright from June 2013 and be one of the 10 biggest by revenue, according to American Lawyer magazine’s 2012 law firm survey.

The deal, which creates a trans-Atlantic 3,800-attorney firm with revenue of $1.9 billion, is one of the most significant marriages since the 2010 tie-up between Washington, D.C.-based Hogan & Hartson and the U.K.’s Lovells. London-based Norton Rose has spent much of the last two years significantly expanding its global footprint through mergers in Canada, Australia and South Africa.

“You cannot claim to be a truly global law firm without strength and depth in the U.S., as it represents over 50 percent of the world’s legal services market -- and Fulbright is a good name,” Tony Williams, founder of legal industry advisory firm Jomati Consultants LLP, said in a telephone interview.

The combined firm, operating under a so-called Swiss verein corporate structure, will have 55 offices worldwide to service clients like GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the Brentford, U.K.-based drugmaker, and New York insurer American International Group Inc.

“We have been looking at the U.S. market for a number of years, seeking a firm that meets our requirements,” Norton Rose Chief Executive Officer Peter Martyr, who will be the global CEO of the merged firm, said in today’s statement. Fulbright “is financially strong, with forward-looking management and similar strategic growth aspirations.”

Norton Rose reported global revenues of $1.3 billion dollars in the last financial year while Fulbright posted $597.5 million in 2011.

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