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Big Law to Get Bigger with Giant Mergers

Many noteworthy mergers have come to light this year, and more seem to be on the way. Upcoming giant mergers will give impetus to the legal industry with big law getting even bigger. While the number of law firm mergers, this year, is already set to break the records; for the most part, such mergers have seen the emergence of stronger small-size and mid-size law firms. Legal consultancy Altman Weil says that this has been a particularly active year for law firms, reporting 58 mergers within the U.S. until the third quarter itself. But, Reuters and other media channels indicate that big news is still round the corner.

Yesterday, Patton Boggs LLP issued a statement indicating that the company was looking for a mega merger. According to media sources, Boggs's future partner could be from outside the U.S. In its statement, Boggs's observed that all law firms aware of the rapid change in economic scenarios and business dynamics should seek ways to improve their platforms for partners and clients. It confirmed that if the law firm found and pursued a combination that accomplished these goals, they would have an announcement to make in the near future. While it is not certain with which non-U.S. law firm Boggs's is planning to merge with, the company is speculated to merge with Locke Lord of Dallas in the U.S. In response to merger speculations with Locke Lord, the statement said, "In line with our strategic plan, we regularly look at growth opportunities that would benefit our firm and our clients, but we do not comment one way or the other."

Considering that there has been a spate of partner departures from Paton Boggs throughout the year, the prospects of the firm known for its influence in Washington, seem to be getting stronger for a merger. That would certainly make big law bigger.

But more than this, it is the probable merger of two veritable giants that is of greater interest to the legal industry. Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP are in talks for a merger. If these law firms merge, the combined company will be one of the 10 largest law firms in the U.S. with more than 1700 attorneys. This would definitely be a step towards big law getting bigger. Both the firms are in advanced merger talks, and a joint statement issued on Friday by the heads of the firms confirmed the fact. James Rishwain, Chairman of Pillsbury, and Mitch Zuklie, Chairman of Orrick jointly said, "Our firms are in exploratory discussions about a possible combination. These talks are serving to confirm the great respect our firms have for each other."

If this merger goes through, the Pillsbury Orrick combination could be this year's largest law firm merger until now.

Patton Boggs, LLP


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