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DALLAS — Partners in Dallas-based Hughes & Luce and Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis of New York voted today to combine the two firms as of Jan. 1, 2008, creating a 1,539-lawyer firm in 23 offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. Edward Coultas, managing partner of the 149-lawyer Hughes & Luce, says his firm’s partners voted nearly unanimously in favor of the deal. Peter Kalis, chairman and managing partner of the 1,390-lawyer K&L Gates, says all 313 equity partners in the firm voted in favor of the deal. Coultas and Kalis each characterize the deal as a combination, and not an acquisition. The firm will be known as Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis. Negotiations started in the early spring, and the firms announced the talks in July. At that time, Coultas said talks began when Robert Wolin, K&L Gates’ administrative partner in Dallas, approached Mark Shank, Hughes & Luce’s hiring partner. Coultas says the combination with K&L Gates is a win-win for his firm, because the firm and its clients will have access to a global network of lawyers at K&L Gates. “It removes any question of a platform issue, and we really like this firm, the people, the quality of lawyers. It’s the expertise we will have at our fingertips,” Coultas says. Hughes & Luce has offices in Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin. As of Jan. 1, Coultas will serve on the management committee of K&L Gates and also become one of eight members of the firm’s executive committee. Kalis says the combination is a big positive for K&L Gates, because it creates “enormous opportunity” as a destination for work created at the firm and a source of work for other offices. “Texas is a strategic market that is underserved by firms with credible, three continent platforms, and by that I mean firms that are built out across the U.S., from the East Coast to the West Coast and firms that have critical mass in Europe and . . . the greater China market,” he says.

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