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Reed Smith is in merger talks with Chicago litigation and IP specialist Wildman Harrold in a deal that would create a 1,200-lawyer firm, Legal Week can reveal, in the latest merger bid to hit the consolidating US legal market.

Reed Smith is in merger talks with Chicago litigation and IP specialist Wildman Harrold in a deal that would create a 1,200-lawyer firm, Legal Week can reveal, in the latest merger bid to hit the consolidating US legal market.

Sources at Reed Smith confirmed the talks, which are at an early stage. A successful tie-up with the 215-lawyer Wildman would create a top 25 US firm in revenue terms with a fee income of more than $600m.

The IP and litigation specialist has offices in Chicago and Lisle, Illinois, as well as an outpost in London. In a separate move, Wildman is to close the City office. The branch’s only UK-qualified partner, IP specialist Rajita Sharma, left the firm earlier this month.

For Reed Smith, a deal with Wildman would represent the latest in a string of major regional acquisitions that have helped the firm grow from a regional Pennsylvania practice to a pan-US 1,000-lawyer giant. It would also gain a substantial foothold in Chicago, one of the US?major legal centres.

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