Law Firms

Law firm mergers surge in 1st quarter 2013

Law firm merger activity hit a four-year high in the first quarter of 2013.

All of the 20-plus law firm weddings listed by the Altman Weil Mergerline, however, involved the acquisition of smaller—and often much smaller—legal shops.

“Firms are picking up specialty practices, expanding in strong markets and adding offices in new cities,” Altman Weil principal Ward Bower said0 in a press release.

The biggest deal announced during the first three months of 2013 involved Detroit-based Clark Hill, which has 231 lawyers on its attorney roster, and 82-attorney Thorp Reed & Armstrong, which is headquartered in Pittsburgh. Another significant deal brought together Detroit-based Dickinson Wright, which has 282 lawyers, and Mariscal Weeks McIntyre & Friedlander, which has 60 lawyers in Phoenix.

“It appears that Detroit-based firms are expanding opportunistically into new markets with greater potential,” Bower said. “This is a strategy that has been employed successfully in the past by firms based in cities with limited local growth options, like Cleveland and Pittsburgh.”

Hat tip: Triangle Business Journal.

See also: “Consultant Sees More Law Firm Mergers Ahead; $2B Club to Double in Size?” “Boom years for law firms were an aberration, report says” (Legal Rebels): “Why not improve value instead of doubling down on bad practices?”

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