Patton Boggs, Washington, D.C.
Patton Boggs, Washington, D.C. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ NLJ)

Patton Boggs partners are preparing to vote on a proposed merger between the city’s largest lobbying shop and global law firm Squire Sanders, after they learn more about the financial situation and declare whether they will stick with the firm.

Reuters first reported news Friday about the timing of the vote, set for as early as May 21. The new firm’s name would be “Squire Patton Boggs,” according to Reuters and a Wall Street Journal report, which both cited unnamed sources.

A person familiar with the plans said partners at Patton Boggs would learn more details this weekend about what the proposed merger would mean for them—including how much they will be compensated. A vote could take place next week, likely on Tuesday or Wednesday, the person said. But first, partners will disclose in writing whether they plan to stay with the firm through the merger, according to the source.

Squire Sanders, founded in Cleveland, has explored mergers before, growing into a sprawling global consortium of 1,300 lawyers. The firm began speaking with Patton Boggs in December, according to Patton Boggs managing partner Ed Newberry. The larger firm required exclusivity during the talks, and it shut out a bid from Dentons to merge with the Washington lobbying and legal services firm.

Squire Sanders has tiptoed toward a more robust public policy practice already this year. The firm added American Conservative Union chairman and lobbyist Alberto Cardenas and a portion of his former group in February.

Patton Boggs, now at fewer than 200 partners, shed partners rapidly throughout 2013 and 2014 after it initiated a downsizing because business dropped, especially in its New Jersey branch, after the Great Recession.

A push to enforce an $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. over pollution in the Amazon ensnared the firm in a fraud lawsuit against the oil behemoth. Patton Boggs settled that suit last week, wiring $15 million to Chevron and pledging to hand over any contingency payments it were to make if the judgment is enforced.

Big-name partner defections have slowed as merger talks grew more serious recently. A group of six in Dallas joined McGuireWoods in March.

Contact Katelyn Polantz at kpolantz@alm.com. On Twitter: @kpolantz.