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08/03/13

Blank Rome LLP Acquires Maritime Practice in Houston



Blank Rome LLP, the law firm with the largest maritime law practice in U.S., announced its acquisition of a Houston based maritime law firm, on Thursday. The maritime law firm of Bell Ryniker & Letourneau added a group of eight lawyers to Blank Rome's Houston headcount.

Blank Rome's decisions clearly reflect an accurate representation of economic markets. While the emerging markets in Asia are failing to provide the promised growth, though the growth rate is still there, with an economic recovery on its way in the US, it is expected that US based law firms would optimize their Asia operations and focus more on the home market.

Blank Rome is doing just that. On July 27, Blank Rome shut down its Hong Kong office and consolidated its Asia practice in Shanghai. Within a week it acquires an eight-lawyer firm in the vital Houston market expanding as well as strengthening its domestic presence.

Considering that for a maritime law firm, Hong Kong is definitely an important market, Blank Rome's recent decisions clearly indicate where the money is, now. Blank Rome had launched both its Shanghai office and Houston office in 2011.

Speaking on the acquisition, John D. Kimball, Partner and International and Maritime Litigation and ADR Practice Group Leader of Blank Rome said that they aim at providing excellence in every aspect of maritime and offshore capabilities, through their global practice. He also added that The Bell, Ryniker & Letourneau team has long been recognized as one of the leading maritime law firms in Houston, and have harnessed their capability and depth significantly, to our maritime and energy practices."

The group of attorneys and additional professional staff from Bell, Ryniker & Letourneau brings significant experience in maritime and energy law, as well as in insurance, government contracts & construction and transportation. Keith B. Letourneau, Michael K. Bell and Douglas J. Shoemaker joined Blank Rome as partners; Robert J. Ryniker and James C. Arnold joined as counsels, and Mitchell R. Machann, Tracy Freeman, and David G. Meyer joined as associates.

As leader of the group, Michael K. Bell said, "We are excited to join Blank Rome and its notable maritime and energy practices as it expands in the Houston market. Our established client base of domestic and international clients will undoubtedly benefit from the Firm's geographic reach and breadth of practice areas."

Blank Rome's Houston office now has 20 attorneys in total combining the latest acquisition with those gained from acquiring Abrams Scott & Bickley in 2011 and launch of Blank Rome's practice in Houston.

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