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US march into London continues as Armstrong Teasdale completes acquisition 

Missouri-bred Armstrong Teasdale has made an ambitious London launch via the acquisition of Kerman & Co and its 50 lawyers and staff.

The buyout will boost Armstrong Teasdale’s global headcount to over 340 lawyers, and marks the firm’s eighth office opening in the last two years. It swiftly follows the firm’s Delaware launch in January.  

David Braswell, Armstrong Teasdale’s managing partner, said: ‘Now we’re in a position to take advantage of tremendous growth opportunities in London’, and insisted ‘this move clearly aligns with the strategic goals we set forth to carry the firm into the future.’

For the disputes-heavy Armstrong Teasdale, there are obvious synergies with Kerman’s Legal 500-ranked commercial litigation practice, but the tie-up now also gives the US firm access to Kerman’s talent in niche specialisms such as sports and entertainment law.

Daniel O’Connell, Kerman’s managing partner, told Legal Business: ‘Our largest department is litigation, and that’s a key area where we now have the strength to go into the market and get talent.’ He also noted the firms’ overlaps in IP, which he hoped will allow the combined firm to hire ‘marquee names.’

O’Connell also revealed that the two firms are working on establishing a combined presence in Dublin, where Kerman already has a pre-existing office.

According to O’Connell, management structures at both firms will remain at the status quo for the foreseeable future, with himself continuing to manage the London office at 200 Strand, near the Royal Courts of Justice.

It is difficult not to view this acquisition within the context of decade in which US firms have continued to flex their muscles in the London market. However O’Connell asserted that the tie-up was simply ‘an extension of clients’ requirements’, rather than a reflection of the City’s overall allure. ‘It’s an exciting development for us, and we’re champing at the bit to get out into the market with our new brand’, he concluded.