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July 6, 2011 11:31 AM

Edwards Angell, Wildman Harrold in Advanced Merger Talks

Posted by Ed Shanahan

Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge and Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon are in advanced merger talks, the firms said on Wednesday.

Emphasizing that there is no final deal yet--and no formal agreement that would go to a partnership vote--the firms said in a joint statement they have been in "serious discussions" since early 2011.

"Both of the legacy firms would bring complementary strengths and clients to a new enterprise," the statement said. "EAPD would offer an established corporate and IP platform to Wildman's litigation clients, particularly in private equity and venture capital, life sciences, and insurance. In addition, EAPD would lend its formidable geographic scope in the U.S., U.K. and Asia."

A newly combined firm would number 650 attorneys, a statement from the firms notes. According to the most recent NLJ 250 ranking, Edwards Angell has a total of 507 attorneys, while Wildman Harrold has 160.

Wildman has seen several lawyers leave over the past few months. Recent departures include two partners who left the firm for Quarles & Brady in early June, and a labor and employment partner who joined Baker & Daniels's Chicago office, also in early June. Media and entertainment lawyer Nancy Derwin-Weiss joined the Los Angeles office of Davis Wright Tremaine as counsel in late May.

Edwards Angell has had its share of both new hires and losses over the last several months. In February, Edwards Angell's Washington, D.C., office merged with 12-lawyer Fleischman and Harding, a communications boutique. In mid-March, ten lawyers from the firm's Delaware office left for DLA Piper to launch the latter's new Wilmington office.

Edwards Angell's gross revenue was $298 million in 2010, a 4.4 percent increase over the previous year, according to The Am Law 100; average profits per partner were $735,000.

Moving forward, the firms say "positive discussions are continuing."

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