London Partner Elizabeth Bradley and St. Louis Partner Phil Wright were interviewed October 25 in International Tax Review regarding the firm’s process of combining two tax practices after the transatlantic merger between US- based Bryan Cave LLP and UK-based Berwin Leighton Paisner.
The Partners stressed the importance of compatibility in culture and work policy between two merging firms. “Prior to the combination it became evident quite quickly that there was a real alignment in the direction and ambition of the tax teams, both with a desire to advise clients on complicated, strategic cross-border multi-disciplinary transactions," said Bradley.
The combination has allowed for growth on both sides as the teams discovered differences between practices in and outside of the US. "We have noticed that the approach to ongoing legal education differs between the non-US and the US. For example, knowledge development lawyers work within our UK tax team, a function not common in the US," said Wright. "We are now in a great position where we can take the best of both working environments moving forward."
Another key consideration for the firm has been prioritizing clients alongside growth. "Contrary to the assumption that clients are neglected during a merger, both legacy firms firmly agree that clients always come first," said Wright. The team members have continued to balance the needs of their clients and integration efforts, sometimes working both UK and US hours. Bradley noted, "It is hard, but rewarding and enjoyable work, so you need to enjoy who you’re doing it with."