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No Slowdown in Law Firm Mergers

Posted Aug 24, 2007 5:37 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Law firm mergers have so far outpaced last year’s numbers, and activity shows no sign of slowing down.

By year’s end, there could be 50 or more law firm mergers, says Altman Weil consultant Ward Bower. "I don't see any slowdown in talks at all," he told the Legal Intelligencer.

Hildebrandt International data shows an increase in mergers for the first half of the year, when 37 mergers were completed compared to 33 last year. Seven additional mergers are planned this year, bringing the number of announced combinations to 44.

The largest merger so far this year created K&L Gates, a combination of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart and Preston Gates & Ellis.

Stephen A. Madva, chairman of Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads, said mergers can help increase client contacts and the potential for work. If business is slow in one city, it may not be in another where the merged firm now has offices.

Madva says his firm has received at least 20 calls about potential mergers since it combined with Crawford Wilson & Ryan last year. Most calls are from smaller firms working with consultants.

"I don't think the phenomenon has slowed down at all," he said.

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