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Shipping giant Holland & Knight has approached Stephenson Harwood about a possible merger as the Florida-based firm struggles to secure a London base.Legal Week understands that the US firm has had preliminary discussions with Stephenson Harwood as part of its bid to secure a deal with a mid-tier London firm.The two firms had several meetings in May and June, though Stephenson Harwood has indicated that its focus is currently on expanding its European presence.A partner at Stephenson Harwood told Legal Week: “We have had discussions, but we are not intent on a merger. We don’t really know much about the firm.”The move comes as Holland & Knight, which has 1,200 lawyers primarily in the US, is attempting to expand beyond its Florida base.In May the firm merged with 30-lawyer New York firm Gilbert Segall, taking the size of its New York office to 130 lawyers.

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