Law by the Numb#rs

Merger Momentum: 2010 Turnaround Continues in Firms' Urge to Merge


Continuing a rebound that began in the last quarter of 2010, announced law firm mergers and acquisitions totaled 14 for the first quarter of 2012, according to the Altman Weil MergerLine, part of legal management consulting firm Altman Weil, based in Newtown Square, Pa.

Also, 11 deals announced in 2011 were completed in the first quarter, MergerLine said in an April press release. Altman Weil Merger-Line “logs law firm combinations as they are reported by media outlets and in press releases; links the user to the original news stories; and compiles key statistics on each deal. The online service also includes an archive of past mergers and a section of commentary and analysis,” according to its website. Those figures can include deals announced but not completed.

The service’s recent figures show that announced firm acquisitions hit a low point of five in the third quarter of 2010, but have been in double-digit territory since.

“We’ve averaged about 15 mergers and acquisitions in each of the last six quarters,” Altman Weil principal Eric Seeger said online. “The pace of merger activity is holding steady at pre-recession levels.”

Many of the deals listed during the last six quarters involve large law firms picking up small firms and boutiques, though this year’s deal combining McKenna Long & Aldridge with San Diego’s Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps continued a string of first-quarter, large-firm mergers, the service says. And the former Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge went to the merger well twice in 2011, acquiring Washington, D.C., firm Fleischman and Harding in the first quarter and becoming Edwards Wildman Palmer after merging with Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon in October 2011.

More on current and historical law firm mergers is available at the service’s webpage at altmanweil.com/MergerLine.

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Graphics by Jamie Gannon

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