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Altman Weil’s Law Firm Merger Report Finds Mergers Continuing Flow in First Quarter

04/04/14

Altman Weil’s Law Firm Merger Report Finds Mergers Continuing Flow in First Quarter


Altman Weil's report on "Law Firm Mergers & Acquisitions Q1 2014" is out and it shows law firm mergers continuing, albeit at a slower pace. However, the market is currently more focused on smaller acquisitions rather than on big mergers.


At least sixteen law firm mergers, the deals for which were completed in 2013, became effective in the first quarter of 2014. Besides these, the first quarter saw 22 mergers, out of which nine were in January, only five in February, and the rest in March.

The biggest merger so far in the first quarter was between Pittsburgh based Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney and Tampa based Fowler White Boggs. The merger is expected to take Buchanan Ingersoll into the AmLaw 100.

There was a surge in mergers and acquisitions of small and mid-size law firms with a focus on consolidating market presence and establishing bench strength. Some small law firms that were acquired by larger law firms include Stamford based Sandak Hennesey & Greco, Davidson & O' Mara of Elmira, NY, Jones Hirsch of New York, Miller Balis & O' Neil of Washington DC, Peck Shaffer & Williams of Cincinnati, and Fowler White Boggs. Most of the other law firms that merged with bigger counterparts were very small and had less than 10 attorneys.

One of the largest mergers that was signed in 2013, but became effective in 2014, first quarter is that between Kansas City based Stinson Morrison Hecker and Minneapolis based Leonard Street Deinard. The merger created an entity with more than 500 attorneys. Another notable merger that was completed in the first quarter but started in 2013 was that between Cleveland based BakerHostetler and Philadelphia based Woodcock Washburn.

Two latest acquisitions that took place within the last week include Wilson Elser's absorption of San Francisco based Hake Law, and Holland & Hart's acquisition of three-lawyer boutique firm Crapo Smith.

All in all, the first quarter of 2014 saw significant activity including both new mergers and completion of old deals, thus proving again that law firm mergers are one of the best ways for law firms to survive, sustain, and progress.

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