The Firms

August 25, 2010 12:15 PM

Squire Sanders and Hammonds in Merger Talks

Posted by Brian Baxter

Maiwurm-300x235 Squire, Sanders & Dempsey and British firm Hammonds are in merger talks, The Am Law Daily has learned. Partners at both firms were briefed Tuesday morning on the discussions.

"While we are still at an early stage, our discussions to date indicate that such a merger would appeal strongly to clients that want high-quality legal services from lawyers who have global experience, and who understand and respect client demand for value," Squire Sanders chairman James Maiwurm (pictured right) said in a statement.

Maiwurm took over as firm chairman last October from R. Thomas Stanton, who presided over a period of explosive growth at the firm. Squire Sanders merged with Florida firm Steel Hector & Davis in 2005, recently announcing plans to close its legacy Tallahassee office in July after the expiration of its lease.

Squire Sanders has explored merger talks in recent years with a handful of U.S. and U.K. firms, including Bryan Cave in 2006, Seyfarth Shaw in 2008, and British firm Denton Wilde Sapte in 2009.

Maiwurm clearly believes that Hammonds has what Squire Sanders needs to make itself a more complete firm. "Squire Sanders is committed to being a global firm," he said in his statement. "We need a more complete presence in the U.K. and Western Europe to complement our strength in Central and Eastern Europe."

According to the most recent Am Law 100 financial data, published in May, Squire Sanders had gross revenue of $545 million last year; profits per equity partner were $795,000. The firm employs over 830 lawyers in more than 30 offices worldwide. Revenue per lawyer in 2009 was $650,000.

Should Squire Sanders complete a merger with Hammonds, which has ten offices in many of the same cities as its potential merger partner, the newly combined entity would have 37 offices located in 17 countries with roughly 1,300 lawyers. Revenues would top $625 million. (Click here for more background on Hammonds, courtesy of Legal Week.)

Crossley_Peter "Operating as 'one firm' around the world is a foundation of the Hammonds culture that is shared by Squire Sanders," Hammonds managing partner Peter Crossley (pictured left) said in a statement. "There is an obvious cultural fit between the two firms."

Much remains to be done before the proposed merger is sent for a vote by the full partnership of each firm, both parties say. But such a vote is expected before the end of the year.

The confirmed talks continue the trend of transatlantic tie-ups. Hogan & Hartson and Lovells completed their merger at the beginning of 2010 to create Hogan Lovells, and just this May, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal and Denton Wilde Sapte announced plans to form SNR Denton later this year.


More on the Merger Talks from Legal Week:

Hammonds set for transatlantic tie-up with US firm Squire Sanders

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