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Midlands giant Wragge & Co is in merger talks with 26-partner City practice Tarlo Lyons in a move which would signal a strong shift from its Birmingham-led strategy.Tarlo Lyons, which handles a range of work including IT, is a far cry from Wragges’ last London merger partner, Needham & Grant. Needhams, acquired by Wragges in March 2000, was a niche intellectual property specialist with only five partners.The merger, which is yet to be finalised, is a further shift in Wragges’ professed long-term strategy of remaining a predominantly single site firm focused on the Birmingham market. Although the firm has small practices in Brussels and London, its Birmingham office, widely regarded as the finest regional practice in the UK, is its only broad service office.The firm has grown swiftly over the last two years through tactical mergers with the strong niche firms Needhams and Birmingham construction specialists Neil F Jones, with whom it merged in October 1999.For full report see Legal Week 19 July.

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