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The last hurdle has been cleared for the homegrown law firm of Gray Cary Weir & Freidenrich to help create the world’s third-largest law firm on Jan. 1 with a unanimous vote on a three-way merger.

The last hurdle has been cleared for the homegrown law firm of Gray Cary Weir & Freidenrich to help create the world’s third-largest law firm on Jan. 1.

Attorneys for Piper Rudnick of Baltimore and DLA of London voted unanimously Sunday to complete the firms’ three-way merger. Previously, San Diego’s Gray Cary had approved its merger with Piper Rudnick.

“The partners in each of the firms have embraced this deal across the board,” Terry O’Malley, chief executive of Gray Cary, who will become managing partner for the new firm’s U.S. operations, said yesterday. He will be based in San Diego.

On Jan. 1, the combined organization expects to have more than 2,700 attorneys and estimated 2005 revenue of $1.5 billion, making it the third-largest global law firm.

It will be known as DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary.

Piper Rudnick co-chairman Frank Burch Jr. said the mergers fulfill a five-year strategy to create a global firm. “While the size of this combination is certain to capture attention, this merger represents the culmination of the strategic plan that was put into motion in 1999,” Burch said yesterday. “More important than size is delivering a platform that will accommodate the expanding global needs of our clients.”

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