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London firms have swept across the Continent in a race to draw local lawyers under their wings. Germany’s 262-lawyer Punder, Volhard, Weber & Axster announced plans to merge with Clifford Chance and Rogers & Wells to form the world’s largest law firm (a final vote is expected in September). The 559-lawyer Benelux firm Loeff Claeys Verbeke announced that approximately 35 partners are jumping to Allen & Overy. Freshfields snagged five partners from three Dutch firms this year, and last year Linklaters & Paines hooked up with Holland’s 300-lawyer De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek as part of its planned merger with four Continental firms to create a new group Linklaters & Alliance. The 140-lawyer Italian firm Gianni, Origoni & Partners announced last month that it would eventually merge with Linklaters & Alliance as well. Eyes are on Spain as Linklaters’ next stop.

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