A record number of law firm tie-ups were announced in 2013, according to legal consultancy Altman Weil. By December, at least 83 firms had combined. The previous high of 70 was posted in 2008. Driving the increase was larger firms “seeing opportunities to either buy clients or buy expertise [and] in a slow-growth, no-growth market, that’s not a bad way to go,” Altman Weil principal Thomas Clay told NLJ affiliate The Am Law Daily in October, when firms were on the verge of breaking the merger record. Several NLJ 350 firms contributed to the trend — including Hogan Lovells; Kansas City, Mo.-based Stinson Morrison Hecker; and Minneapolis-based Leonard, Street and Deinard. Stinson and Leonard Street announced this year that they were combining to form a 525-lawyer firm called Stinson Leonard Street. In December, Hogan, headquartered in Washington and London, picked up 120 lawyers through its merger with South African law firm Routledge Modise.


Not all mergers proposed in 2013 were to be, however. San Francisco-based Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and New York-based Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman didn’t go through with a tie-up that would have created a firm with more than 1,600 lawyers. “We were still at the conversational stage,” Pillsbury Chairman James Rishwain told NLJ affiliate The Recorder. A merger of Atlanta-based McKenna Long & Aldridge and international firm Dentons also didn’t happen. That combination would have made a firm with more than 3,000 lawyers. “We are not in a position to successfully bring our firms together at this time,” a McKenna spokesman told The Am Law Daily.


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