Welcome to the first edition of The Informer of 2017!

Whilst we have been away, a lot has been happening here at DWF. We have grown exponentially and have stamped some new footprints around the globe thanks to a handful of strategic tie-ups. Below is an overview of our growth since the last edition of The Informer.

On 1 December 2016 DWF merged with 20-partner commercial law firm C & H Jefferson, one of the leading firms in Northern Ireland with over 100 years' experience in delivering commercial and insurance legal services with a focus on the banking and finance, real estate and retail sectors. C & H Jefferson's team is ranked tier 2 in the Legal 500 for commercial property and dispute resolution, with particular strengths in professional indemnity. C&H Jefferson also operates in industrial disease litigation and is one of only four firms appointed to the Law Society of Northern Ireland's negligence claims panel.

On 1 January 2017, DWF launched in France via a merger with four-partner firm Heenan Paris. Heenan Paris managing partner Jean-Francois Mercadier and fellow corporate finance partner Ali Boroumand joined DWF alongside general corporate partners Pascale Gallien and Anne-Sylvie Vassenaix-Paxton. Not only is France a key market for us as a result of its size and importance in mainland Europe, but it is also a gateway to the African market, in particular Sub-Saharan French speaking Africa where Heenan Paris was recognised as one of the leading international law firms. Heenan Paris also opened doors to South Africa through its exclusive alliance with South African law firm Thomson Wilks, which has six office in South Africa, including in Cape Town, and an office in Zimbabwe. The France team has particular expertise in corporate, private equity, commercial, IP/IT and litigation.

Late January heralded DWF's acquisition of insurance claims giants Triton, who operate in all of the key Lloyd's markets of Chicago, London, Sydney and Toronto. The acquisition saw around 215 people join DWF. Where office locations overlapped between the businesses, such as in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, London, Manchester and Dublin, Triton's employees were absorbed by the existing DWF offices. We also acquired Triton's innovative technology platform 3Sixty as part of the acquisition, which will complement our existing platform of 15Squared.

In early February 2017 we entered into an exclusive association with Saudi Arabian firm Harasani & Alkhamees, which has bases in both Riyadh and Jeddah. The offices focus on litigation and dispute resolution, construction, corporate, family, employment and private client work. As the largest economy in the MENA region, having a foothold in Saudi Arabia not only complements our existing Middle East practice but also opens DWF up to a market of vast opportunity.

In March 2017 it was announced that DWF is launching in Berlin with eight lawyers, including three partners. This is to bolster the already strong and full service presence that DWF has in Germany, more specifically in Cologne and Munich. DWF managing partner and chief executive Andrew Leaitherland said: “Opening in Berlin presents a strategic opportunity in its own right, offering significant opportunities in the financial services and real estate markets, along with being a key piece of our wider international growth plans.”.

Andrew Leaitherland

Partner - Managing Partner & CEO

I am the person responsible for bringing the great ideas of our people to life.