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K&L Gates in TX Merger Talks

Posted Jul 27, 2007 7:33 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Two law firms want to set the rumor mill straight: Yes, they are talking merger.

Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis and Dallas-based Hughes & Luce announced yesterday that they are negotiating a merger that would create a combined firm with about 1,550 lawyers.

K&L Gates chairman Peter Kalis says his 1,400-lawyer international firm has only 35-lawyers in Texas, all in a Dallas office, Texas Lawyer reports. Yet the state is an important source of business. "K&L Gates is underinvested in the Sunbelt,” he said.

The deal would be the second merger for Kalis’ firm since January, when Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham merged with Preston Gates & Ellis.

Kalis told the legal newspaper that negotiations are far enough along with Hughes & Luce to go public. He says that’s preferable to “skulking around behind closed doors and keeping secrets, or trying to keep secrets, from our partners, our associates and our staff."

"We would not put this in the public domain frivolously."

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