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Report: Law Firm Mergers On the Rise, But Still Way Behind ‘09 Activity

Posted Jul 1, 2010 2:53 PM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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There's been an uptick in law firm merger activity during the second quarter of this year, with 10 completed mergers involving U.S.-based law firms.

Yet while there's been an increase in mergers over the first quarter (there were four during that period), merger activity is still down compared to the same period in 2009, according to Hildebrandt's MergerWatch report.

Last year, there were 42 mergers in the first half of the year, compared to only 14 in the first half of in 2010.

"We are seeing significant interest in combinations, including a dramatic increase in interest in cross-border transactions," Lisa Smith, a Hildebrandt consultant, said in a release about the law firm merger trend this year. "We expect the second half of the year to continue to show increased merger activity.”

Mergers in the report included the May 1 creation of megafirm Hogan Lovells and the merger of San Francisco's Carroll, Burdick & McDonough with the European boutique Smith & Partners.

For the third quarter, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal is expected to complete its merger with Denton Wilde Sapte to form SNR Denton.

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