UPDATE: 3/6/13, 7:10 p.m. EDT. Information as to the status of Ongaro Burtt & Louderback has been added to the fourth and fifth paragraphs of this story.
March Madness is still two weeks away, but merger madness, it seems, waits for no bracketology.
McKenna Long & Aldridge is among the latest Am Law 200 firms to expand regionally by announcing office openings in Miami and Northern Virginia after absorbing an aviation-focused boutique, while Adams and Reese and Thompson & Knight have expanded into Jacksonville and San Francisco, respectively, by picking up smaller firms in those cities.
Thompson & Knight, which last October opened in Los Angeles by relocating litigation partner Shelly Youree from Dallas and hiring litigation counsel Bruce Zabarauskas from Crowell & Moring, branched out into the Bay Area on March 1 by bringing on seven lawyers from San Francisco–based litigation boutique The Ongaro Firm.
Joining Thompson & Knight are litigation partner David Ongaro, counsel Nevin Brownfield and Susan Haines, and attorneys Peter Hoefs, Cara Sherman, Glen Turner, and Amelia Winchester. Sherman will be based in Thompson & Knight’s Los Angeles office. All previously practiced either with Ongaro at his former firm Ongaro Burtt & Louderback, which formally dissolved on December 31 of last year, or his successor firm.
The firm’s two other name partners—David Burtt and Charles Louderback—have formed Oakland-based Mobility Legal P.C. and the San Francisco-based Louderback Law Group, respectively. (Ongaro did not respond to a request for comment on his decision to join Thompson & Knight.)
Thompson & Knight saw gross revenue rise 3.5 percent to $207 million in 2012, while profits per partner increased another 6.5 percent during that same period to $985,000, according to sibling publication Texas Lawyer. The firm, which elected Emily Parker as its new managing partner last year, called off merger talks with Reed Smith in 2011.
Adams and Reese, meanwhile, has expanded its presence in Florida by opening an office in Jacksonville following its merger with 12-lawyer local business litigation shop Volpe, Bajalia, Wickes, Rogerson & Wachs, according to sibling publication the Daily Business Review. Timothy Volpe, a name partner at the firm, will serve as partner-in-charge of Adams and Reese’s new office in Jacksonville, the largest contiguous city by area in the continental United States.
The merger of Volpe’s Jacksonville firm, which was founded in 1998, into Adams and Reese is effective as of March 1. Besides Volpe, other partners joining the New Orleans–based Am Law 200 firm are Michael Lee, Matthew McLauchlin, John Rogerson III, and Alan Wachs, along with special counsel Michael Duncan, Christopher Harris, and Leslie Wickes.
“The merger with Adams and Reese gives us the opportunity to even better serve our clients, with access to a broader base of attorneys, practicing in almost every area of law,” Volpe said in a statement announcing the merger. “[W]e look forward to creating new relationships with Adams and Reese clients, and with new clients in our merged firm who will be attracted to our large regional footprint, extensive list of practice areas, and experience in virtually every industry in the region.”
Last fall, Birmingham-based Balch & Bingham opened an office in Jacksonville after acquiring six-lawyer banking boutique Stoneburner Berry Glocker Purcell & Greenhut, right around the same time that regional rival Burr & Forman entered Tampa by merging with 23-lawyer local firm Williams Schifino Mangione & Steady.
Also on the move this month is McKenna Long, which has picked up offices in Miami and Northern Virginia after absorbing aviation shop Dombroff Gilmore Jaques & French, according to sibling publication The Blog of Legal Times.
The 15-lawyer firm, which specializes in Federal Aviation Administration–related contract, employment, enforcement, and litigation matters, will see partners Thomas Almy, Morgan Campbell, Mark Dombroff, Dane Jaques, and Mark McKinnon join McKenna’s litigation practice along with eight other lawyers filling associate counsel roles at the firm.
McKenna’s merger comes a year after the Am Law 200 firm—formed via the 2002 merger of Atlanta-based Long Aldridge & Norman and Washington, D.C.’s McKenna & Cuneo—announced its combination with San Diego–based Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps. (The two firms formally combined a year ago this month.) McKenna also announced Tuesday that it had received approval from South Korea’s justice ministry to open an office in Seoul, making it the latest global firm to enter the country’s increasingly crowded legal market.
February also saw other Am Law 200 firms use mergers to expand regionally.
Sedgwick picked up eight partners by adding 20-lawyer toxic tort boutique Brown Eassa McLeod in Oakland, according to sibling publication The Recorder. And Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton—a firm that entered The Am Law 100 last year as a result of its own merger in late 2010—expanded into Los Angeles by bolting on Beverly Hills–based boutique Keats McFarland & Wilson.
Others have their eyes on new horizons abroad. Dallas-based Haynes and Boone announced a cooperation agreement Monday with Brazil’s MMA Lawyers, while Lone Star State and Am Law 100 rival Baker Botts continued its expansion in the Middle East by inking an alliance with the International Law Group of Kuwait, according to Texas Lawyer.