Brown McCarroll, a 75-year-old Austin-based firm, plans to merge with Husch Blackwell of St. Louis on July 1, creating a 608-lawyer firm with offices in Austin, Dallas and Houston and 14 other cities.
The firm will be known as Husch Blackwell.
Following partner votes at both firms from June 11 through June 18, the firms announced the merger June 19.
David Hilgers, chairman of the 65-lawyer Brown McCarroll, says Husch Blackwell approached his firm in late 2012 about a potential merger. Unlike discussions with other firms over the last few years, "this seemed like a very good fit for us," he says.
Hilgers says both firms are organized along industry lines such as health care, energy and real estate, so despite the disparity in size, they are compatible.
"We have complementary expertise and . . . culture. Their culture is very accommodating to ours, and that was a key issue for us," he says.
Financial markers are close, as well. According to The American Lawyer's AmLaw 200, profits per partner at Husch averaged $630,000 in 2012, and revenue per lawyer averaged $550,000.
That compares to average PPP of $555,000 in 2012 and average RPL of $570,000, according to Texas Lawyer's Annual Report on Firm Finance.
Maurice Watson, Husch Blackwell's chairman, says the Brown McCarroll and its lawyers provide "just exactly the kind of expertise that fills a need in our firm" in the areas of energy, real estate and health care.
Brown McCarroll's Texas location is "icing on the cake," Watson says.
"We were delighted to get into an opportunity to enter into what all would agree is a very vibrant and expanding market in Texas," says Watson, who works Husch's office in Kansas City, Mo.
Following the merger, a Brown McCarroll attorney will serve on Husch Blackwell's executive board, but Hilgers says that lawyer has not been identified yet.
Brown McCarroll's major clients, according to a press release, include Community Health Systems, Covenant Management Systems, Daymark Realty Advisors Inc., Direct Energy, Forestar (USA) Real Estate Group Inc., Fortress Investments, Freescale Semiconductor Inc., Kindred Healthcare, Oncor Electric, Tenaska Inc., Trammell Crow Residential, Travis County Healthcare and Wells Fargo Bank.
For other Brown McCarroll clients, click here.
Husch Blackwell's major clients include Algonquin Power Co., Commerce Bank, Emerson Electric Co., Express Scripts Inc., GE, H&R Block, Kansas City Southern Railway, Monsanto Co., Olin Co. and Saint Luke's Health System.
Husch, currently with 543 lawyers, has grown considerably over the last five years. In February 2008, Husch & Eppenberger of St. Louis and Blackwell Sanders of Kansas City merged to create a 630-lawyer firm. In July 2008, the firm picked up 45 attorneys from Welsh & Katz of Chicago, according to its press release.
Brown McCarroll adds offices in Austin, Dallas and Houston to Husch Blackwell's 14 offices, which include Chattanooga, Tenn.; Chicago; Denver; Jefferson City, Mo.; Kansas City, Mo.; Lincoln, Neb.; Memphis; Omaha, Neb.; Peoria, Ill.; Phoenix; Springfield, Mo.; St. Louis; and Washington, D.C. The firm also has an office in London.