INTERNATIONAL legal practice Norton Rose on Wednesday announced it is merging with leading US law firm Fulbright & Jaworski from June next year.

The new firm will be named Norton Rose Fulbright and become a top 10 global legal practice by gross revenues and number of lawyers. The company would also become the largest in Africa.

Rob Otty, the MD of Norton Rose South Africa said the company was delighted to be combining with a practice that shared Norton Rose’s culture and passion to expand into Africa.

A statement issued on Wednesday said Norton Rose Fulbright would have 3,800 lawyers and would be a top-10 global legal practice by gross revenue and by number of lawyers. The enlarged practice will have 55 offices internationally, including 11 offices and close to 800 lawyers in the US.

Norton Rose Fulbright will also have an office in Riyadh and additional strength in London, Dubai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Munich.

"The practice will have world-class expertise in litigation and dispute resolution, corporate, intellectual property and banking and finance," read the statement.

Peter Martyr, the global CEO of Norton Rose, said the company had been exploring for opportunities in the US market for years to seek "a firm that meets our requirements for excellence in law, good business synergies and a compatible culture. Fulbright & Jaworski meets all our criteria; it is financially strong, with forward-looking management and similar strategic growth aspirations."