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Boston legal powerhouse Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge is expanding across the pond. Edwards Angell announced plans yesterday to acquire U.K. law firm Kendall Freeman, adding some 50 London lawyers to its current stable of 550 attorneys, about half of whom work in Boston.

“London is the largest legal market by far in Britain and one of the largest anywhere in the world,” Edwards Angell’s Chip DeWitt said. “We think this merger gives us a great platform to add to the number of attorneys we have there.”

No cash will change hands as part of the deal, nor are any layoffs planned at Kendall Freeman, which specializes in insurance and reinsurance law. Instead, plans merely call for the British firm to phase in the “Edwards Angell” name over the next 18 months.

DeWitt said the deal also opens the door for Edwards Angell to help Kendall Freeman expand beyond insurance law. The U.S. firm specializes in several areas, including private equity, initial public offerings and patent law.

“The game plan would be to try to increase the number of attorneys in London,” DeWitt said.

Yesterday’s announcement came almost two years to the day after Providence’s Edwards Angell and Boston’s Palmer & Dodge - two old-line New England law firms - merged to create Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge.

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly ranks the combined entity as the state’s sixth-largest firm in terms of how many Bay State attorneys it employs.


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