Law Firms

Fennemore Craig announces merger; it's not the time to 'curl up in a ball,' CEO says

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Fennemore Craig will merge with California law firm Dowling Aaron, creating a law firm with 180 lawyers.

The merger will take effect Oct. 1, according to a press release and stories by and Bloomberg Law. The combined firm will be called Fennemore Craig Dowling Aaron in California.

Fennemore Craig CEO James Goodnow told that the merger will make the combined firm “a dominant player in agriculture business and water law in the western U.S.”

Goodnow said the firms were determined to continue merger talks during the COVID-19 pandemic, although there was a slight slowdown.

“When I think about the pandemic, I don’t think, ‘let’s curl up in a ball,’ ” Goodnow told “I think you have to be much more proactive about finding ways to create work, finding ways to distinguish yourself from other firms, and that’s how we approached [the merger].”

Bloomberg Law points out that it is a slow year for law firm mergers, with activity close to a 10-year low.

Fennemore Craig currently has about 130 lawyers with Arizona offices in Phoenix, Tucson and Nogales; a Colorado office in Denver; and Nevada offices in Las Vegas and Reno. Dowling Aaron has about 50 lawyers with California offices in Fresno, Sacramento, Bakersfield and the Central Coast.

Goodnow will remain CEO of the combined firm. Leigh Burnside, president of Dowling Aaron, will join the combined firm’s management committee.

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