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HFW merges with US firm Legge Farrow in major strategic drive into US energy and marine markets

On 3 January 2017 international law firm Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) will be merging with leading US energy and marine firm Legge, Farrow, Kimmitt, McGrath & Brown LLP, based in Houston, Texas. The merger is a major strategic development for both firms, bringing significant benefit to their clients.

Houston is an important geographical market for HFW and its clients, being a key touchpoint for several of the firm’s chosen sectors –energy, marine and aviation in particular. The city is second only to New York as a home to Fortune 500 companies and is known as the energy centre of the world for virtually every aspect on the oil and gas industry lifecycle – from exploration, production and midstream to refining, marketing, supply and technology.

The merger follows successful collaboration between the firms on several cross-jurisdictional client projects in the energy and marine markets and takes their relationship to the next level. The merger brings HFW closer to existing clients in the region, giving it a physical presence in the US for the first time. It also creates opportunities for the firm to expand its client base and develop business elsewhere in the US and throughout the Americas. For Legge Farrow, the merger with HFW provides its clients with the significant strategic benefits of access to an established and well recognised international network of 16 offices in South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. The firm's Houston office can now service the international needs of its existing clients with support from over 450 lawyers involved in transactional and dispute resolution matters around the world.

Legge Farrow is an award-winning firm that has provided multinational clients with representation in Texas, New York, California and Louisiana for over 20 years. The firm numbers eight partners, and nine associates. The merger will bring the total headcount at HFW to 170 Partners, 450 lawyers plus other fee earners and staff totalling 915.

This is a merger of similarities and complementary strengths: both firms share a common philosophy of focussing on a concentrated number of sectors with the intention of ensuring their clients will benefit from a unique blend of local market insight, industry expertise and commercial pragmatism. Also, both firms share a number of common values: entrepreneurial spirit, creative expertise - and a belief in the value of collaborative partnerships (exemplified by this merger story.) In terms of complementary strengths, the combination of the two firms delivers a deepening of sector expertise and a broadening of geographical reach.

Richard Crump, HFW’s Global Senior Partner said: “Houston represents a major business hub for us. Having an on-the-ground US office has been a goal for some time and this merger will bring us closer to our existing clients in the region, and enable us to develop more business in our key sectors of oil and gas, marine and aviation, which are key growth sectors in the region, as well as building out our sector capability. This is an exciting development for the firm and we are pleased to be taking such a significant step with friends and colleagues at Legge Farrow with whom we have worked so successfully for so many years."

Glenn Legge, one of the founding Partners of Legge Farrow said: “We are extremely pleased to be formalising our long-standing relationship with HFW. We are very similar in terms of culture and providing pragmatic, cost effective services. Further, we both value the importance of in-depth sector knowledge. Through the merger, we are able to offer HFW an opportunity to enhance its existing presence in the US; and for us the merger provides our multinational clients with access to an established and well recognised international network.”

Paul Dean, Head of HFW's Oil and Gas practice and who led the US expansion adds: "I see this exciting development as an investment in the businesses of both our and Legge Farrow's clients in Houston".

For further information please contact Tania Phayre, Head of Marketing, on +44 (0)20 7264 8546, or email tania.phayre@hfw.com.

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