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Speechly Bircham is in merger discussions with 23-partner London firm Campbell Hooper.

The 200-lawyer firm is believed to be close to agreeing a deal with the Westminster-based firm, with further details likely to emerge later this week.

Campbell Hooper’s lawyers cover practice areas including construction and real estate, corporate and commercial, employment and litigation, with its client base including the likes of Barnardo’s, Berkeley Homes, Yo Sushi! and Crest.

City firm Speechly has 73 partners working across comparable practice areas, as well as areas such as private client, intellectual property and technology. The firm recently promoted four lawyers to its partnership.

Speechly is known to have discussed merger options in recent years. However, the firm was believed to be previously looking more closely at small team bolt-ons or a tie-up with a bigger City player.

The firm declined to comment on the potential match-up, saying in a statement: “We are always open to new avenues of work and remain an attractive target for potential merger parties. At any one time we are actively exploring various opportunities and are regularly in discussions with all sorts of interested parties.”

One ex-partner said of the talks: “Speechly was always well-run and financially secure and mergers have been suggested before. However, this does not sound like the type of firm I would have expected them to go for.”

Campbell Hooper could not be reached for comment.

Last week Hill Dickinson announced that it was taking over 11-partner London commodities firm Middleton Potts, in a deal effective from 1 July. At the end of March US outfit McGuireWoods sealed an entry into the UK market with a transatlantic merger with London boutique Grundberg Mocatta Rakison.

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