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In just over a month, UK top 50 firm Bond Dickinson and Am Law 200 firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice will be no more.

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Law Firms Mentioned

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  • Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice

/uploads/sites/378/2017/09/Betty-JB-Article-201709221430.jpg" alt="" width="620" height="372" /> In just over a month, UK top 50 firm Bond Dickinson and Am Law 200 firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge &amp; Rice will be no more. On 1 November, <a href="http://www.legalweek.com/sites/legalweek/2017/06/01/bond-dickinson-to-combine-with-us-alliance-partner-womble-carlyle/">they will combine</a> to create what��Bond Dickinson��managing partner Jonathan Blair describes as ���a new breed of transatlantic law firm���, under the banner of��Womble Bond Dickinson. The��new firm will be governed by a board led by co-chairs Blair (pictured above right) and Womble Carlyle CEO Betty Temple (pictured above left). Issues at the top of the merger agenda��include plans��to bulk up the firms UK��intellectual property (IP) practice, the introduction of a sector-based approach in the US, and the challenge of how to reward��cross-referrals across the Atlantic. IP is a key pillar of Womble Carlyles��domestic make-up,��with��the practice��comprising approximately 15% of��the US firms��lawyers.��The firms Boston launch earlier this month was driven by IP, with practice head Sarah Keefe now also managing partner of the new base. Bond Dickinson has less of an established pedigree in IP, but the��firm plans to change that, either��with lateral hires or or bolt-ons. Blair says��the firm is��aiming��to��"leverage off the back��� of Womble���s IP strength and grow the UK��practice through ���laterals, teams or boutiques���. Womble is also��looking��to��replicate the strengths of the UK firm in the US, with Temple identifying energy as a particular target. Bond Dickinson has a base in the UK���s oil and gas capital of Aberdeen,��as well as a well-respected renewable energy team. ���We are working on building practices that will help each other,��� says Temple, ���It is an opportunity for us to build out teams in key sectors.��� The biggest��challenge for Womble, according to Temple, will be��the task of��mirroring Bond Dickinsons sector-focused UK strategy in the US. Bond Dickinson currently focuses��on eight key sectors:��energy and natural resources; financial institutions; insurance; manufacturing; private wealth; real estate; retail; and transport and infrastructure. The combined firm will have 11 key sectors ��� Bond Dickinson���s existing eight, plus: technology; healthcare; and pharma, biotechnology and life sciences. ���That has been the bulk of the work,�����Temple says. ���The sector approach is less common in the US, where firms tend to go to market by services ��� but it is an opportunity for us,��� she explains. Bond Dickinson has appointed three partners to��lead its three new sector groups ��� Leeds restructuring partner Andy Stirk (healthcare), London IP partner Patrick Cantrill (pharma, biotechnology and life sciences) and Southampton IT and e-commerce partner Julian Hamblin (technology). On the Womble side, sector heads include Baltimore partner Joe Tirone, who joined the firm in July from Arnold &amp; Porter��(energy); Atlanta litigator Liz Bondurant (insurance); Winston-Salem product liability partner Will Latham (retail); and Raleigh litigation partner Jay Silver (technology). ���We looked at people with expertise in an industry with a track record of assembling teams and working collaboratively,��� Temple explains. The��firms have also looked to address the challenge of incentivising lawyers to refer work to their colleagues across the Atlantic. A��system has been up and running since they��first struck an alliance a year ago, as Temple explains. ���We have had a mechanism in place <a href="http://www.legalweek.com/sites/jamesbooth/2016/06/15/bond-dickinson-seals-transatlantic-alliance-with-womble-carlyle/">during the alliance</a>," she says. ���We do compensation per partner relating to origination of work, which partners worked on it and who manages the relationship.��� ���Under our system, attorneys sending work to the UK could get origination credit for work sent back the other way. Other firms have joint bonus pools, but we think this system is better and it works,��� she says. Looking to the future, the pair��do not��rule out adding further firms to the combination, although say that is not currently on the agenda. Blair says: ���I am not saying that in 10 years��� time we might not be looking at the Middle East or Africa ��� we operate in a dynamic market ��� but that is not part of the plan." <

  • Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice


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