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Pittsburgh-based Thorp Reed & Armstrong is in merger talks with Cincinnati’s largest law firm, 280-attorney Dinsmore & Shohl. While the talks have yet to produce even a letter of intent, Dinsmore & Shohl managing partner Clifford A. Roe said both firms are general service firms and a good fit for a merger. “We’re always looking for greater depth,” he said. Both sides have stressed that the talks are in beginning stages. “To say it’s talks, it’s like two managing partners of two firms having conceptual conversations,” a Thorp Reed spokesperson said in responding to a call placed to firm managing partner Douglas E. Gilbert. The spokesperson said the talks are only at a very high level. Media reports have said that it was Roe who initiated the discussions. With a little more than 100 attorneys, Thorp Reed has offices in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Wheeling, W.Va. and Princeton, N.J. The West Virginia office would be a complement to Dinsmore & Shohl’s two offices in Charleston and Morgantown. Dinsmore & Shohl has a four-attorney office in Pittsburgh, which would be greatly expanded by the nearly 100 attorneys in Thorp Reed’s office there. This merger would move Dinsmore & Shohl as far east as New Jersey while bringing Thorp Reed into Ohio and Kentucky. Dinsmore is listed as No. 192 on the Am Law 200 rankings of gross revenue for law firms, with gross revenue of $93 million for fiscal year 2004. It’s profits per equity partner were $345,000 and its revenue per lawyer was $385,000. Legal recruiter Valerie Esposito, of McAnney Esposito & Kraybill Associates in Pittsburgh, said Thorp Reed is a very respected firm in the city. She said that while firms engage in merger talks all the time that may not result in anything, it is a good sign if they are trying to achieve similar goals or have things in common, such as complementary practice areas and offices. According to Esposito, Thorp Reed has intentions of moving west, and this merger would certainly accomplish that goal. Esposito said that from what she has heard, these merger talks are only in the exploratory stage.

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