X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Wilmer Cutler Pickering and Boston’s Hale and Dorr are nearing a partnership vote on merging, according to a source close to the discussions. If approved, the merger would instantly create a 1,000-lawyer behemoth that would rank as one of the 10 largest firms in the country. The combined firm would have offices throughout Europe, as well as a New York presence of about 90 lawyers. In Washington, D.C., Wilmer has 350 lawyers to Hale and Dorr’s 70. A vote on the merger is expected this week or next, the source says. Law firm consultants and D.C.-area lawyers expressed surprise at the advanced state of the discussions, and the possibility of a merger between a Washington institution and an old-line Boston corporate firm. “The management doesn’t bring things like this to the partnership if they don’t think they will go through,” says law firm consultant Peter Zeughauser. Wilmer Chairman William Perlstein cited the firm’s policy not to comment publicly on speculation about the firm. Hale and Dorr managing partner William Lee did not return calls for comment, though in an interview last week with The Boston Globe he acknowledged the firms were in discussions. Law firm consultants say the marriage makes sense on the surface. The two firms are about equal in size and have similar cultures. Profits per partner are close: In 2002, Wilmer Cutler posted an average $759,000 profits per equity partner, while Hale and Dorr’s PPP was $810,000. Hale and Dorr, however, has multiple partnership tiers while Wilmer Cutler has only equity partners, which might complicate efforts to integrate. In 2002, the firms grossed a combined $603 million, split roughly evenly. Zeughauser questioned the strategy of beefing up in Washington and Boston instead of courting merger partners on the West Coast or in New York to create a national presence. “It’s a kind of Northeast or Mid-Atlantic states deal,” he says. But Zeughauser says the firms’ practices complement each other: Wilmer has strong litigation and regulatory practices, and one of the city’s biggest rainmakers, securities lawyer William McLucas. (McLucas declined comment.) Hale and Dorr has top intellectual property and corporate practices. David Wilkins, head of Harvard Law School’s Program on Lawyers and the Professional Services Industry, says the firms have similar old-line, prestigious cultures. “If they have to grow and merge to stay competitive, at least you have firms with similar values,” he says. “What this shows is the pressure that even quite well-established, excellent firms feel to get bigger and to have more coverage.”

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.