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March 7, 2012 5:23 PM

McKenna Long, Luce Forward Make It Official. Who's Next?

Posted by Brian Baxter

Despite a slight delay, the merger between Atlanta-based Am Law 100 firm McKenna Long & Aldridge and San Diego-based Am Law 200 shop Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps closed on Tuesday, according to sibling publication the Daily Report.

As The Am Law Daily has previously reported, the tie-up follows a year that saw Luce Forward's gross revenues sink to a ten-year low. The merger creates a 575-lawyer firm with 13 offices throughout the United States, five of which are in California. McKenna Long's gross revenues increased slightly in 2011, according to the Daily Report.

Various other firms within and outside the Am Law 200 universe are also pursuing mergers, tie-ups, and strategic alliances of their own.

The Am Law Daily reported last week on leading Australian firm Allens Arthur Robinson's talks with Magic Circle firm Linklaters, the latest in a string of moves and potential moves involving big firms Down Under.

SNR Denton and top French firm Salans, which saw its revenue increase 5 percent last year, have held discussions about joining forces to create a transatlantic legal giant, according to British legal publication The Lawyer, while Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and Fulbright & Jaworski have also reportedly discussed a potential combination.

Aside from McKenna Long and Luce Forward, none of the firms mentioned above are saying anything publicly about the possibility of combining with a counterpart at the moment. Nonetheless, there is some recent merger-related news of note to report:

Philadelphia-based Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads is expanding its nascent New York office by acquiring two smaller firms—Kurzman Karelsen & Frank and DeOrchis & Partners—this month, according to sibling publication The Legal Intelligencer.

Carroll, Burdick & McDonough, a 72-lawyer firm based in San Francisco, is expanding overseas by picking up a Munich office through a merger with seven-lawyer Schweiger & Partners, according to sibling publication The Recorder. The German boutique also has an office in Singapore. Despite the international expansion, The Recorder reports that Carroll Burdick has lost partners stateside.

A new 30-lawyer firm in Louisville will go live on April 1 when local shops Goldberg Simpson and Helmers, DeMuth & Walton officially combine operations, reports Business First Louisville.

The U.K. has also seen its share of legal industry mergers of late. Though talks between mid-tier British shops DWF and Cobbetts ended without an agreement last month, this month has already seen Exeter-based Ashfords Solicitors and London-based Rochman Landau team up. The union between the two, which went live on March 1, creates a firm with nearly $50 million in annual gross revenue, according to U.K. publication Legal Week.

Also set to combine operations in April are Leeds-based Fairfax Solicitors and Bradford-based Drydens Solicitors, shops spun off, respectively, from larger British firms Eversheds and Hammonds (the latter merged with Squire Sanders in 2010). The Telegraph reports that the merged entity will form one of the largest firms specializing in debt collection and debt litigation in the United Kingdom.

In the booming legal market of Perth, Australia, where Squire Sanders has started settling in after a high-profile lateral raid last August, local firms Lavan Legal and Maxim Litigation Consultants have agreed to merge, according to The West Australian.

Nixing a proposed merger in favor of a less formal alliance were Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy and top Singapore shop Allen & Gledhill, according to a report last week by The Lawyer.

In India—a potentially lucrative legal market that remains closed to foreign firms, but whose own local firms are keen on modernizing their own operations—a dispute between two of the country's oldest firms has scuttled an ill-fated 2006 merger. Bar & Bench reports that FoxMandal and Little & Co. parted ways last month after a five-year union. Kian Ganz, publishing editor of Legally India, had the full breakdown about the two firms' complicated history for Wall Street Journal affiliate LiveMint in December.

 

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