Slowdown in US Law Firm Combinations in Third Quarter

Two US-based mega-firms announced Canadian acquisitions
Newtown Square, PA, October 6, 2016 — There were twelve law firm combinations announced in the US in the third quarter, according to Altman Weil MergerLine. After a highly active first half of 2016, the pace of combinations slowed considerably over the summer.

“One quarter does not make a trend,” commented Altman Weil principal Tom Clay.  “There may be a number of deals closing in the fourth quarter, but we could be seeing a slowdown because there is not an infinite inventory of desirable acquisitions.”

Two US-based mega-firms announced acquisitions of Canadian law firms in the third quarter. 

The largest deal announced in the quarter was Norton Rose Fulbright’s upcoming combination with Bull Housser, a 92-lawyer firm in Vancouver.  DLA Piper will acquire 16-lawyer, Toronto Intellectual Property firm, Dimock Stratton.

In other large firm moves, 1,700-lawyer, Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis acquired 17-lawyer, Washington DC appellate litigation boutique, Bancroft PLLC.  Paul Hastings, a 900-lawyer firm based in New York City, added 6-lawyer SEC enforcement boutique, Zaccaro Morgan, in Los Angeles.

Three mid-sized firms made in-state deals.  Detroit-based, 350-lawyer Clark Hill picked up Axe & Ecklund, a 2-lawyer municipal finance firm in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.  Florida firm, Greenspoon Marder added to its 185 lawyers through a combination with the 5-lawyer Florida Health Law Center in Fort Lauderdale.  Bingham Greenebaum Doll, a 210-lawyer firm based in Indianapolis, acquired 2-lawyer mineral law specialists, Rhine Ernest in Evansville, Indiana.

Of the 12 combinations announced in the 3rd quarter, all but one were acquisitions of firms with under 20 lawyers. 

The complete list of law firm mergers and acquisitions announced to date in 2016 as well as an archive from prior years and a nine-year trend summary are available online at

About Altman Weil MergerLine™
Altman Weil MergerLine™ logs law firm combinations as they are reported by media outlets and in press releases; links the user to the original news stories; and, compiles key statistics on each deal.  The online service also includes an archive of past mergers and a section of commentary and analysis.  Learn more at
About Altman Weil
Founded in 1970, Altman Weil, Inc. is dedicated exclusively to the legal profession.  It provides management consulting services to law firms, law departments and legal vendors worldwide.   The firm is independently owned by its professional consultants, who have backgrounds in law, industry, finance, marketing, administration and government.   More information on Altman Weil can be found at

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Thomas S. Clay
Altman Weil, Inc.  

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