Although a late-breaking client conflict has delayed a decision on whether New York’s Rogers & Wells L.L.P. will merge with the British firm Clifford Chance, the American firm has already begun a cost-cutting campaign to become a more profitable operation.

The 377-lawyer Rogers & Wells, which averages partner profits of $645,000, according to the American Lawyer magazine, has begun closing unprofitable overseas operations, said one partner. The firm shed a lawyer who worked out of a non-Rogers & Wells Singapore office, and it’s debating whether to shut its 21-lawyer Paris outpost.