Slaughter and May’s European ‘best friends’ firm network has long been an example of how solid referral relationships between law firms can negate the need for problematic mergers.

The group — including France’s Bredin Prat, Italian firm BonelliErede, German powerhouse Hengeler Mueller, Spain’s Uría Menéndez and Dutch firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek — acted on 250 deals worth more than $265 billion in 2019, according to Mergermarket data. Collectively the firms have 40 offices and more than 2,500 lawyers.