The combination that created Womble Bond Dickinson recently was named the biggest law firm transaction of 2017. However, a full year before the combination was formed, UK firm Bond Dickinson and US firm Womble Carlyle entered a formal working agreement, and that 2016 arrangement led to the two firms combining forces the following year.

Womble Bond Dickinson Co-Chair Betty Temple recently discussed that arrangement with Law360 senior reporter Sam Reisman for an article on formal working agreements between law firms. The legal news outlet said the Bond Dickinson-Womble Carlyle arrangement could be a blueprint for other firms in the future.

“We really did not have a template,” Temple told Law360. “We really just all sat down and tried to work out: What are our goals? What do we want to accomplish here and what do we need to do? How can we make it more international?”

As the partnership began, the UK business community had to deal with the unexpected Brexit vote to take the country out of the European Union. In light of Brexit, a close working relationship between the American and British firms made even more sense, and six months into the formal working agreement, leaders from the two firms began discussing a combination. The agreed-upon alliance united the firms under one brand and a limited by guarantee company, but each side retains a certain amount of autonomy. The Womble Bond Dickinson combination became a reality on Nov. 1, 2017.

“Our governance remains what it was like at our firm and their governance remains what it was at their firm,” Temple said. “It made it more straightforward than it could’ve been.”

Click here to read “Womble Bond Alliance a Lesson for Firms Unready to Merge” at Law360.