Womble Bond Dickinson sets out top team as £340m transatlantic tie-up goes live

The transatlantic tie-up between the UK’s Bond Dickinson and US firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice has gone live today (1 November), creating a new firm with combined revenue of £340m.

Womble Bond Dickinson is structured as a UK company limited by guarantee, meaning both firms will retain independent profit pools, but combine under the same brand.

The new firm will be led by a global board chaired by Bond Dickinson managing partner Jonathan Blair and Womble Carlyle CEO Betty Temple.

Joining Blair on the board on the UK side are London-based US desk head Simon Watts, Leeds real estate partner Paula Dillon and Southampton commercial partner Nick Barwood.

Meanwhile, the US partners on the board are Charlotte-based UK desk head Jeffrey Hay, Baltimore managing partner David Hamilton and North Carolina intellectual property partner Christopher Bolen.

Blair told Legal Week: “Although we only went live today, the global board has been having meetings on a regular basis, both in person and over video conference. We have a strategic priorities list of KPIs and specific measures we are looking to achieve in the first six to 12 months.

“The reaction we have had externally and internally has been fabulous – I have had a steady stream of emails from former partners, clients, managing partners of other law firms and international colleagues today.

“The opportunities continue to flow and we have seen a marked uptick in those in the last few weeks – we are anticipating that will ramp up over the months to come. We have said this before this is a revenue play; driving revenue opportunities for the business and meeting client aspirations.”

According to Companies House, the company that brings the two firms together, Womble Bond Dickinson (international), was incorporated on 31 May, with legal advice provided by Macfarlanes.

Speaking to Legal Week in September, Temple and Blair said the UK firm plans to build up its IP practice to replicate the importance of that practice area for the US firm, while the US side of the deal has adopted the sector-based strategy pursued by Bond Dickinson.

On the UK side, Bond Dickinson has offices in Aberdeen, Bristol, Leeds, London, Newcastle, Plymouth and Southampton; while in the US, Womble Carlyle has five bases in North Carolina, three in South Carolina and two in Virginia, as well as outposts in Palo Alto, Wilmington, Washington DC, Atlanta and Baltimore.