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New chapter for Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co

Historic Birmingham law firm founded in the 1830s has launched tie up with Canadian practice to target international markets

David Fennell, chief executive of Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co
David Fennell is now chief executive of Gowling WLG (UK) which officially launches today

One of Birmingham's oldest law firms is starting a new chapter in its history today.

Wragge & Co, more recently called Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co following a merger in 2014 with London-based Lawrence Graham, is now Gowling WLG.

The new-look firm, headquartered at Two Snowhill in the Colmore Business District, comes as a result of the merger with Canadian practice Gowlings.

It can now boast more than 1,400 legal professionals in 18 cities across the UK, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Wragge & Co was founded in 1834 and spent many years at landmark office building 55 Colmore Row before moving to Two Snowhill.

Its old offices are now undergoing a major refurbishment to create new, modern office accommodation.

David Fennell, chief executive of Gowling WLG (UK), said today: "At the core of Gowling WLG is a commitment to helping our clients navigate increasingly complex challenges in a tough business and legal environment.

"More and more, our clients are looking outward to global markets for new opportunities.

"They need a law firm that not only has expertise in those markets but also understands their business and their sector and can move at their pace.

"This is true for our domestic clients as well who know there are immense benefits to having legal advisers who understand their industry in their home market but can also draw on international connections and best practice."

WLG has appeared on the UK's 'best workplaces' list, produced by the Great Place to Work Institute, every year since the list began in 2001 whereas Gowlings has been named one of the 50 best employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt for six straight years.

On the road to the new launch, both firms have already worked closely together, including on matters in Canada, the UK, China, the Middle East, France, Germany and Singapore.

The firms also joined forces to win a global intellectual property mandate from cereal manufacturer Weetabix.

Gowling WLG International has a six-member board comprising three members from the two founding firms.

They are chief executive David Fennell, strategic development director Jenny Hardy and chairman Andrew Witts, from Gowling WLG (UK), and chief executive Peter Lukasiewicz, external managing partner James Buchan and partner Scott Jolliffe, from Gowling WLG (Canada).

The board will be co-chaired by Mr Fennell and Mr Lukasiewicz.

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