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New business cards will be the biggest change for Dechert Price & Rhoads attorneys and Titmuss Sainer Dechert lawyers following a merger of the Philadelphia- and United Kingdom-based firms, Dechert partner Malcolm S. Dorris said Monday. As of July 1, the combined firm, now known only as Dechert, will have 580 lawyers in 10 offices across the United States and in Europe. But the merger is not a metamorphosis so much as an evolution, firm management said. “This [merger] establishes us in Europe in a very major way,” Dechert Chairman Barton J. Winokur said. “London is the financial center of Europe. Having what amounts to a full-service practice there enables us to serve clients throughout Europe from its financial center.” Dechert merger committee chair Dorris explained: “Dechert has been known historically as a Philadelphia firm, but we would like people to think of us an international firm.” Steven Fogel, senior partner Titmuss Sainer Dechert, says the merger is a reflection on the way the market is going. “This is a case of two firms consummating an alliance to go forward internationally,” Fogel said. “We have worked together a long time, and know each other well. That is why we have been able to achieve what many other firms would not be able to. “… Normally firms divide. We have come together, and I think that gives you a great competitive advantage.” Prior to the merger, Dechert Price & Rhoads had 440 attorneys in offices from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, Princeton, New York, Washington, D.C., Hartford, Conn., Boston, Paris and Brussels. “[This merger] changes our platform, our balance. People will notice us a little more, notice that even the work we have done with Philadelphia lawyers is not just Philadelphia-based,” Dorris said. “We’re much more than a Philadelphia law firm.” While many Philadelphia law firms have opened London offices — among them Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Cozen & O’Connor, Buchanan Ingersoll, and, as of last week, Duane Morris & Heckscher — the Dechert merger is unique in size and breadth. “We have an advantage in being able to offer a full-service firm, as opposed to trying grow a London office,” Dorris said. ALLIANCE In 1994, Dechert Price & Rhoads forged an alliance with London’s Titmuss Sainer & Webb, known for its corporate, securities, tax and litigation departments. The two firms entered into an exclusive agreement to work together to represent clients with increasingly international needs. Dechert Price & Rhoads merged its pre-existing small London office into the 100-plus Titmuss firm, the Dechert attorneys becoming Titmuss attorneys, and Titmuss Sainer & Webb adopting the name Titmuss Sainer Dechert. A early as the mid-1990s, Dechert Price & Rhoads hired a Titmuss investment management partner as a Dechert Price & Rhoads partner, connecting the U.S. and U.K. practice groups and allowing partners in both groups to serve U.K. firms with U.S. concerns and U.S. firms with U.K. work. Later, several Dechert Price & Rhoads lawyers transferred to Titmuss. “That showed us, most importantly, what a terrific thing this could be if we worked at it,” Dorris said. “Group by group, we began getting involved and saw new opportunities.” Those opportunities included growing practice groups to improve client services and to attract international clients with the promise of a full-service firm with resources on both sides of the Atlantic. “London is the centerpiece of our European strategy,” Winokur said. “We recognized six years ago that to compete globally and continue to provide our clients with truly integrated international service, it would be necessary for us to have a full-service presence and complete infrastructure in London.” OBSTACLES With opportunities came cultural obstacles. In recent years, these cultural differences have prevented a number of potential U.S.-U.K. mergers. “We’ve watched other law firms make missteps in their efforts to grow, and we have been determined not to do the same,” Winokur said. “The new Dechert is truly an international collaboration.” More than a year ago, the merger of New York’s Roger & Wells and London’s Clifford Chance led to speculation of more transatlantic mergers, but practical issues of profitability and culture seemed to have halted the expected trend; not one top- or middle-tier New York firm merged with a top United Kingdom firm in the past year. Dechert Price & Rhoads and Titmuss Sainer Dechert overcame the different accounting practices of each firm; Titmuss, like most U.K. firms, used an accrual system, while Dechert Price & Rhoads used the American standard, a cash-based system. Dechert will rely on a cash-based system, using mutually agreed-upon equivalents to transfer the Titmuss accounts. Other issues faced by transatlantic mergers include cash issues, billable-hour requirements and billing rates. U.K. firms often have lower average billable hours and higher billable rates. “Most [transatlantic mergers] that have been attempted and failed were not strong working relationships,” Dorris said. The six-year alliance “gave us an opportunity to understand and learn about cultural differences.” NAME CHANGE The name change was less complicated. Winokur said: “A lot of people who know us knew us as Dechert anyway. We are repositioning firm on an international basis and will have a more consistent image.” “This was a good opportunity with the merger to try to rebrand ourselves and come out with a new look, a simple name like that is a nice change,” Dorris said. But Dorris said Dechert’s goals remain the same. “Now we will work on full integration of London folks, but we will be keeping our eyes open to other opportunities in U.S. and abroad,” Dorris said. The firm will focus on mergers and acquisitions, as well as corporate transactions and securitization. Ronan Hughes of Law.com/uk contributed to this report.

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