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October 1, 2010 11:31 AM

Sources: Reed Smith, Thompson & Knight in Merger Talks

Posted by Zach Lowe

Reed Smith and Thompson & Knight are in "preliminary" merger talks, according to sources we've spoken to over the last couple of days. Jeffrey Zlotky, the managing partner at Thompson & Knight, confirmed to us this morning that the two firms are in what he describes as "preliminary" discussions over a potential combination. A source familiar with both firms has described the talks as "serious," but Zlotky says they have not yet gotten to the stage at which he would take the proposed deal to the full Thompson & Knight partnership. 

Gregory Jordan, managing parter of Reed Smith, says he and Thompson higher-ups have talked several times about merging but also cautions that the talks are "preliminary." Reed Smith also has not yet taken the matter to its full partnership, Jordan tells us. 

Zlotky says firms seeking a presence in Texas, Thompson & Knight's home base, make inquiries now and then. Jordan has spoken publicly about his desire to enter the Texas market and tap into the thriving energy practice many of the top Texas firms boast. But the source familiar with the firm's plans say Reed Smith has now zeroed in on Thompson & Knight as its primary target in the state. "There are a lot of things pulling us toward Texas," Jordan says, emphasizing the importance of the state's energy market.

The combined firm would have nearly 2,000 lawyers, with about 1,500 of them coming from the Reed Smith side, according to numbers from The The Am Law 200 and The NLJ 250. Reed Smith posted profits per equity partner of just over $1 million last year, while Thompson & Knight checked in with PPP of $855,000, according to the most recent Am Law 100 and second hundred surveys. Both firms saw PPP increase in 2009.

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