Law firms didn’t slow down their march to the altar in the second quarter of 2008, but just how many mergers occurred depends on whom you ask. Altman Weil announced a sharp increase in merger activity during the second quarter. It pegged law firm mergers at 26, compared with 18 in the first quarter.
At the same time, competitor Hildebrandt International announced steady merger activity, with a total of 14, compared with 12 mergers in the first quarter of 2008.
The discrepancy stems from how the two consultancies count the pairings. Lisa Smith, in charge of MergerWatch for Hildebrandt, said that it counts only mergers that are completed during the quarter.
“We’re pretty comfortable with our methodology,” she said.
Altman Weil, however, counts mergers that are announced during the quarter, said Kathy Roach, director of marketing at Altman Weil.
“The effective date seems more artificial,” she said.
Altman Weil, which started its MergerLine tracking service this year, also includes mergers with firms with five or fewer attorneys. Hildebrandt does not.
The two largest completed mergers in the second quarter, according to Hildebrandt, were the ones between 220-attorney Taft, Stettinius & Hollister of Cincinnati and 100-attorney Sommer Barnard of Indianapolis, and between 350-attorney Holland & Hart of Denver and 50-attorney Hale Lane Peek Dennison and Howard in Reno, Nev.
Under Altman Weil’s methodology, the largest merger was between 1,500-attorney K&L Gates and 175-attorney Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman of Charlotte, N.C. Another major combination was announced between 650-attorney Troutman Sanders, based in Atlanta, and 100-attorney Ross, Dixon & Bell, based in Washington.