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The Independent Online
Urge to merge

More than a third of professional practices are actively considering a merger with another firm, or "acquisition" of individuals from another firm, according to a survey by the accountants Smith & Williamson.

The figure rises to nearly half for medium-sized firms. Almost 70 per cent of the firms questioned were solicitors and 78 per cent of these believe mergers and acquisitions activity will increase next year. Eighty per cent of solicitors would consider a merger or acquisition.

Architectural accolade

The City solicitors Wilde Sapte have been deemed to have the best- designed legal offices by In Brief magazine. Judges included the architect Alan Marten from Sir Norman Foster & Partners and Ann Minogue, a construction lawyer from the solicitors McKenna.

Green conference

Some of the most experienced lawyers in the field will address the first conference of the Environmental Law Foundation at the National Council for Volunteer Organisations' conference suite in London on Thursday, 9 November.

On the move

Caroline Kean, the defamation expert, is leaving the West End firm Olswang for Cheltenham-based Wiggin.

Risk in obstetrics

Dickinson Dees of Newcastle tomorrow will host a seminar on risk and claims management in obstetrics and neonatology at the city's Copthorne Hotel.