On 1 November 2017, UK law firm Bond Dickinson and US law firm Womble Carlyle, combined to form Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD), a Top 20 transatlantic law firm with more than 1,000 lawyers based in key regions across the UK and US.
In the last 12 months the combination has led to new offices in strategic locations, seamless international support for new and existing clients and a strengthening of the sector connections that brought the two firms together initially.
International activity that resonates with regional and local clients has been a theme of the last year. Last week, WBD supported the Global Parliament of Mayors Annual Summit , this year held in Bristol, where the firm has one of its largest UK offices. The firm has also become a partner for the 400th anniversary commemoration of the Mayflower’s historic voyage from Plymouth to Boston – a celebration of the ties between the UK and the US and the opportunities this brings.
Earlier in the year, WBD used its Northern Powerhouse partnership as a showcase to US investors and clients, helping to facilitate US inward investment whilst back in December, Jonathan Blair, UK Managing Partner was invited to lead discussions at the Milken Institute London Summit on “US Overview: Big Markets, Big Politics”.
WBD's sector focus has been central to joint initiatives of the last year: the firm's lawyers formed part of an international trade delegation on a tour of the Southeastern US’s thriving automotive industry, UK partner; Chris Towner, and Joe Tirone from the US represented the firm at the largest annual event in the US offshore wind industry, and the 2018 Maryland State of the Ports event ; Richard Collins (UK) and Ellen Gregg (US) were among the panel discussion participants at the firm's first Disrupting Disputes conference in London.
WBD lawyers from both sides of the Atlantic showcased joint information security and data privacy expertise at the InfoSecurity Europe conference and to celebrate World IP Day, IP, members of the Technology and Data team from the UK and US created a series of “Transatlantic Top Tips” videos providing guidance on protecting intellectual property rights on both sides of the Atlantic.
In May, the firm held an International Innovation Week with transatlantic events exploring topics such as cryptocurrency, blockchain and AI in the business world. This provided opportunities for all staff across the US and UK to take part in webinars, workshops, roundtable events and discussions.
This was followed by the launch of WBD Advance, a new service in the UK that pulls together all of the firm's key technology and business services that are becoming increasingly essential to clients alongside traditional legal advice.
The next 12 months will bring many challenges for the global business world. In addition to transatlantic support for clients, WBD provides European market coverage through close relationships with law firms on the continent, notably a strategic alliance with Redeker Sellner Dahs in Germany. As Brexit fast approaches, the firm is working with clients across the UK and internationally to provide advice and information on the significant implications of the UK exiting the EU.