The Firms

April 2, 2012 6:58 PM

Law Firm Mergers Holding Steady Through First Quarter of 2012

Posted by Brian Baxter

UPDATE: 4/3/12, 10:50 a.m. EDT. Information on a recent acquisition by Hinshaw & Culbertson has been added to the last paragraph of this post.

The market for law firm mergers continued its post-recession rebound in the first three months of this year, with 14 combinations involving almost 5,400 lawyers announced since January 1, legal consultancy Altman Weil said Monday.

Another 11 mergers announced late last year were completed in the first quarter of 2012, according to Altman Weil.

"We've averaged about 15 mergers and acquisitions in each of the last six quarters," Altman Weil principal Eric Seeger said in a statement. "The pace of merger activity is holding steady at prerecession levels."

The first three quarters of 2011 saw 80 percent more merger activity involving U.S. firms than the same period in 2010, according to Altman Weil. Overall, merger activity was up 54 percent for the year, the consultancy reported in January. 

Altman Weil said last year that the absorption of smaller firms by their larger counterparts was driving much of the action. K&L Gates and Littler Mendelson  were among those getting bigger by acquiring smaller shops in the first quarter of 2012, while Bryan Cave and McKenna Long & Aldridge joined forces with larger firms, according to Altman Weil, which tracks U.S. law firm mergers on its Web site and advises on some transactions.

The Am Law Daily reported last year that Denver-based Holme Roberts & Owen hired Altman Weil to evaluate its strategic options, which led to merger talks with Bryan Cave and, ultimately, a tie-up with the St. Louis-based Am Law 100 firm.

This week, Hinshaw & Culbertson picked up three partners and two associates from Nicolosi & Associates, including a strategic and management consulting business affiliated with the Rockford, Illinois-based firm, according to The Rock River Times.

Related Stories:

From Singapore to Switzerland, More Law Firm Merger Talks and Tie-Ups, 3/28/12

McKenna Long, Luce Forward Make It Official. Who’s Next? 3/7/12

Southern Strategy: Baker Donelson, Womble Carlyle Continue to Grow By Snapping Up Small Shops, 2/1/12

Urge to Merge: Law Firm Tie-Ups Rose Nearly 80 Percent in 2011’s First Three Quarters, 10/3/11

Altman Weil: Small Firm Acquisitions Drive Law Firm Merger Market, 7/6/11


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