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Bristol firm Osborne Clarke is set to announce a merger with 10-partner niche property firm McGuinness Finch as the regional firm attempts to broaden its City practice.The two firms are set to announce the deal publicly in a matter of days.The deal brings to an end months of speculation about the future of one of London’s few niche planning practices. It also throws doubt on the ability of other niche firms like Forsters to survive in the London market without a broader practice.Over the last two years McGuinness Finch has talked to a number of larger firms about a possible merger including Nabarro Nathanson. The firm also tried to hire corporate and tax assistants to back up its practice.A successful deal would bring to an end a turbulent year for the firm.In January last year founding partners Keir McGuinness and Stephen Finch took early retirement due to disagreements over the future of the firm. At the same time, the firm split off its Leeds office – now The Frith Partnership.A handful of partners have also moved, including Moira Fraser who joined from DJ Freeman, and Oliver Emanuel who joined Clifford Chance.

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