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DLA Piper announced Thursday that it plans to fully merge with Australian alliance partner DLA Phillips Fox in a move aimed at giving the firm a much larger footprint in the Asia Pacific region — and positioning it as the largest firm in the world in terms of number of lawyers.

Partners at both firms are expected to overwhelmingly approve the merger next month, with integration of the 700-lawyer Australian firm set for May 1, according to a DLA Piper press release announcing the merger. The merger will give DLA Piper offices throughout Australia. A New Zealand arm will not be included in the merger but will continue to operate as an affiliate.

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