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November 28, 2011 6:31 PM

Bryan Cave, Holme Roberts Said to Be in Merger Talks

Posted by Brian Baxter

Bryan Cave and Denver-based Holme Roberts & Owen are engaged in discussions about a potential tie-up, according to reports by the St. Louis Business Journal and the Daily Journal in Los Angeles.

Representatives of both firms declined to comment on possible merger talks when contacted Monday by The Am Law Daily. Earlier this monthHolme Roberts managing partner Randall Miller acknowledged that his firm was having conversations with potential suitors. The Am Law Daily has previously reported on Miller's effort to restructure Holme Roberts following a series of high-profile partner defections and staff layoffs.

Miller, who took over the leadership of Holme Roberts in May, told the Daily Journal that his 175-lawyer firm was eager to bolster its national profile.

"Having regional rates while having a larger and more robust practice is always a goal of ours," Miller told the paper. "We have never had a particular time frame in mind [to broker a merger or acquisition]. But the sooner we do, the happier we'll be."

The Daily Journal reports that Holme Roberts received a boost when the firm won a $22.6 million breach-of-contract verdict earlier this month for Union Pacific Railroad in state court in California. Holme Roberts had gross revenues of $104 million and profits per partner of $380,000 in 2010, according to the most recent Am Law 200 financial data.

Bryan Cave, meanwhile, saw its gross revenue drop almost 3 percent in 2010 to $539.5 million, while profits per partner rose 14.6 percent to $705,000, according to the most recent Am Law 100 financial data.

Bryan Cave, a 900-lawyer firm with roots in St. Louis, merged with New York's Robinson Silverman Pearce Aronsohn & Berman in 2002 and Atlanta-based Powell Goldstein in 2008. The combined firm has trimmed almost 100 lawyers from its ranks in the past year, according to annual head count data compiled by sibling publication The National Law Journal.

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