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Washington, D.C.’s Wilmer Cutler Pickering and Boston’s Hale and Dorr announced today that they will merge, instantly creating one of the nation’s largest law firms. The new firm — Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr — will have more than 1,000 lawyers and will be co-led by Wilmer’s managing partner, William Perlstein, and William Lee, Hale and Dorr’s managing partner. The marriage of the two firms, effective May 31, will bring together Wilmer’s strengths in securities, bankruptcy, communications, antitrust, and litigation and Hale and Dorr’s primary practice areas, including intellectual property and securities, white-collar, and IP litigation. The new firm, with a projected annual revenue of more than $700 million in 2004, will have about 475 lawyers in D.C. and Northern Virginia; 325 in the Boston area; 100 in New York; and 135 in Europe. Perlstein and Lee, who have been in discussions since August, say they don’t expect staff or attorney layoffs or closures of any of the firms’ offices. “What we will have together is a frankly unparalleled set of skills that should lead clients with the most challenging problems to come to us,” Perlstein says.

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