INTERNATIONAL firm Ashurst is edging closer to a merger with Australian law firm Blake Dawson.
It is understood the UK law firm set up an internal working group of about 25 to 30 partners to work on plans for Australian presence, The Lawyer reports.
A spokesperson at Blake Dawson told The New Lawyer that the firm "does not comment on market speculation".
The deal would see Ashurst follow Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, DLA Piper and Norton Rose into Australia.
The New Lawyer reported in May that Herbert Smith had been eyeing up a union with Blake Dawson, based on information provided by an anonymous legal industry source.
The Ashurst deal now depends on senior management at that firm seeing off dissent from a faction in the firm that is opposed to the deal, according to UK media reports.