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This article appeared in Accounting and Financial Planning for Law Firms, an ALM/Law Journal Newsletters publication covering all financial aspects of managing law firms, including: building a law firm budget; rates and rate arrangements with clients; coordinating benefits for law firm partners; and the newest strategies to grow your firm and your career.

As law firms endeavor to survive in an increasingly competitive world, one strategy picking up steam is the law firm merger. 2018 was a banner year for mergers as firms moved at a rapid pace to complete more acquisitions than in years prior. Some advisers point to the challenges that small law firms are currently facing amid all of the changes in traditional ways of practicing law, such as automation of many legal services and downward fee pressure as reasons for the uptick in M&A activity. Artificial intelligence, for example, is making an impact in law firms as this new technology is reducing the need for hundreds, or in some cases, thousands of hours that would otherwise be spent by young attorneys performing document review tasks.

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