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Pillsbury Madison & Sutro, based in San Francisco, is due to merge with Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts, headquartered in New York, by the end of the year. John Pritchard, chairman of Winthrop, claims the firms’ merger has created a strong U.S. platform for it to further globalize its practice. “We have had discussions with London firms and aim to have further discussions. It is something we are working on for the future.” Says Pritchard: “Although we have headquarters in New York, over half of our business comes from clients based abroad.” The new firm, Pillsbury Winthrop, will have about 300 partners based in 16 offices spread between the U.S., London — where Winthrop has an office — Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo. The two firms had been talking for three months; the merger is expected to be formalized by the end of this year. The new entity will combine Winthrop’s strong corporate expertise with Pillsbury’s substantial presence in Silicon Valley. Pritchard is not daunted by the so-called “cultural differences” which have led to the collapse of merger talks between other U.K. and U.S. firms. “The question is whether your clients need a trans-Atlantic capability. My feeling is that internal differences between U.K. and U.S. firms can be worked out,” he says, adding, “Clifford Chance was able to work a deal with Rogers and Wells.”

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