Fears that Taylor Wessing’s U.K. arm was planning to tap outside investment under the U.K. Legal Services Act (LSA) prompted the firm’s French arm to enter breakaway merger talks with U.S. practice Nixon Peabody, it has emerged.

Taylor Wessing managing partner Michael Frawley said Wednesday that the belief that its U.K. partnership was intent on using the LSA to gain outside capital led to its Paris office entering the merger talks, which are now at the heart of a high-stakes legal battle.

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