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Mergers & Acquisitions

US Law Firm Mergers Rebound In 2011

Posted Jan 5, 2012 1:59 PM CDT
By Rachel M. Zahorsky

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In the strongest showing since 2008, last year saw 60 mergers and acquisitions among U.S. law firms.

Three of the year’s biggest deals came in the fourth quarter, boosting the annual total 54 percent over 2010, Altman Weil MergerLine reports. Of the 17 new combinations, five involved the acquisition of firms with 100+ lawyers, and peaked with the marriage of 3,500-lawyer global law firm DLA Piper and its Australian affiliate, 600-lawyer DLA Phillips Fox.

“The momentum for law firm mergers built throughout 2011 and the year ended very strongly,” Altman Weil principal Ward Bower said in the report. “We think the trend toward larger deals will continue and the pace of mergers could accelerate in 2012.”

Bower also predicts more U.S./U.K. and U.K./Canada mergers in 2012, after a downturn in cross-border mergers for U.S. firms in 2011.

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