The partnerships of Pittsburgh-based K&L Gates and Charlotte, N.C.-based Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman gave a thumbs up Monday to a merger of the two firms.
The combination, effective July 1, will result in a firm of more than 1,700 attorneys in 28 offices across the United States, Europe and Asia. The firm also said it would have the largest Carolinas presence of any global law firm with more than 175 lawyers in the region.
"Our combined firm is now positioned to serve as the Carolinas' legal bridge to the globalized economy of the 21st century," K&L Gates Chairman Peter J. Kalis and Kennedy Covington managing partner Eugene C. Pridgen said in a joint statement.
Despite some troubles in the Charlotte legal market because of its focus on the financial services sector, the two firms said that Charlotte, as the second-largest financial center in the country, will be a boon to both firms as it increasingly handles domestic and foreign investments.
The addition of Kennedy Covington, the firms said, will offer a global reach for Carolina-based businesses and will strengthen the combined firm's practices in real estate, corporate, employee benefits, health care, litigation and private equity matters.
Kennedy Covington has a little over 175 attorneys in offices in Charlotte, Raleigh and Research Triangle Park, N.C., and Columbia and Rock Hill, S.C.
K&L Gates moved dramatically up the Am Law 100 chart this year thanks to a January 2007 merger with Seattle-based Preston Gates & Ellis, according to recently released data by The American Lawyer, a sister publication of The Legal Intelligencer. It is now 28th on the list.
The firm's gross revenue hit $755 million, its revenue per lawyer reached $610,000 and its profits per equity partner hit the $800,000 mark. K&L Gates closed out 2007 with 1,235 full-time equivalent lawyers, including 243 equity partners.
It completed a merger with Dallas-based Hughes & Luce on Jan. 1.
Pittsburgh-based Dickie McCamey & Chilcote and Philadelphia-based Cozen O'Connor, both with offices in Charlotte, are the only other Pennsylvania-based firms to have a presence in the Carolinas. Most other local firms open up farther south in Florida. DLA Piper, McGuire Woods and Littler Mendelson all have a presence in both Pennsylvania and the Carolinas.