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John Coleman, the managing partner of Norton Rose in CanadaFred Lum/The Globe and Mail

London-based international law firm Norton Rose, which recently made headlines when it merged with two Canadian law firms, has now made its first move south of the border.

The firm announced Wednesday that it was merging with U.S. legal giant Fulbright & Jaworski, renaming the now truly global firm Norton Rose Fulbright.

The merger, which will take effect next June, will create one of the world's largest law firms, with 3,800 lawyers, 55 offices worldwide and a mammoth U.S. presence of 800 lawyers in offices in Austin, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, St Louis and Washington D.C.

It marks Norton Rose's first move into the U.S. The firm has long expressed the intention to find an American partner.

Just last year, Norton Rose merged with Canada's Ogilvy Renault and Macleod Dixon.

Wednesday's move is the latest as the legal industry in Canada and worldwide goes through a wave of mergers. Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP just announced its plan to merge with SNR Denton and Salans, to create a new global firm called Dentons. And Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP recently announced a major merger with a South African law firm.

"The U.S. legal market is the largest in the world and our combination will create a truly global practice with significant depth of expertise in the world's principal business and financial centres," Peter Martyr, the chief executive of Norton Rose, said in a statement.

John Coleman, the managing partner of Norton Rose in Canada, said in a statement that the move was groundbreaking: "Norton Rose Fulbright draws a new map in the international legal market and sets a precedent in cross-border business."

Follow Jeff Gray on Twitter: @jeffreybgrayOpens in a new window

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