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Fresh off of a merger in Seattle, K&L Gates has set its sights on the South.

The 1,400-attorney firm has said that it is in merger discussions with Dallas-based Hughes & Luce.

The two firms have been talking since the spring and anticipate formal proposals to be issued by the fall if talks continue to progress, the firms said in a statement today.

If a merger went through, K&L Gates would have more than 1,500 attorneys in 24 offices.

Hughes & Luce is a full-service firm with 150 attorneys spread through offices in Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin, Texas.

“More than 10 percent of the Fortune 1000 call Texas home,” Peter Kalis, K&L Gates’ chairman and global managing partner said in a statement. “These and other Texas-based enterprises – including an enviable number of middle market and emerging growth companies, funds and financial institutions, and individual entrepreneurs – compete in regional, national and global markets, just as enterprises based elsewhere in the world do substantial business in Texas. Hughes & Luce is one of the pre-eminent law firms in the state and thus a very attractive potential partner.”

K&L Gates already has a Dallas office with close to 35 attorneys. The firm entered the market in January 2001 when it merged with Wolin Ridley & Miller.

Read more about it in Friday’s Legal.

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