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Law firm merger activity kept a steady pace in the first quarter of 2008, according to MergerWatch, a tracking service of Hildebrandt International. So far this year, U.S. law firms have completed 21 mergers, compared with 23 for the same time period last year. The largest merger for the first quarter was between Husch & Eppenberger and Blackwell Sanders to create Husch Blackwell Sanders, with about 630 attorneys. Other large included Mayer Brown with Johnson Stokes & Master in Hong Kong; McGuireWoods with Helms Mullis & Wicker; Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis with Hughes & Luce; and Reed Smith with Richards Butler Hong Kong. Of the 21 mergers, five were cross-border deals. In 2007, MergerWatch tracked 55 law firm mergers.

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