Record Number of Law Firm Combinations Through Mid-Year

48 LAW FIRMS COMBINATIONS ANNOUNCED THROUGH MID-YEAR

Dentons Has Made Top Two 2015 Deals

Newtown Square, PA, July 6, 2015 – There were 19 law firm mergers and acquisitions announced in the United States in the second quarter of 2015, according to Altman Weil MergerLine.  This brings the half-year total to 48 – the highest number recorded at mid-year in the nine years that Altman Weil MergerLine has been compiling data.

The largest combination announced in the second quarter of 2015 was the merger of global law firm Dentons and Atlanta-based McKenna Long & Aldridge, finalized on July 1.  McKenna Long’s headcount at the time of the merger was just over 300 lawyers, having had about 100 lawyers depart the firm since the deal was announced in April. 

In January, Dentons announced its intention to merge with Chinese firm Dacheng, a deal which, when final, will make Dentons the largest law firm in the world with over 6,000 lawyers.

“We expect the law firm acquisition market to be extremely active for the foreseeable future,“  says Altman Weil principal Eric Seeger

“In 2015 headcount growth is usually not the primary driver of these deals – although Dentons might be an exception.  Most firms are pursuing strategic, incremental additions with an eye on profit growth rather than headcount.”

Chicago and Houston continue to be desirable markets for large law firm expansion.

Cozen O’Connor, a 575-lawyer Philadelphia-based firm, expanded its presence in Chicago with the addition of 60-lawyer commercial litigation firm, Meckler Bulger Tilson.  Honigman Miller, a 260-lawyer Detroit-based firm, entered the Chicago market for the first time by acquiring 14-lawyer litigation boutique Schopf & Weiss.

Blank Rome, a 520-lawyer firm headquartered in Philadelphia, acquired 24-lawyer IP boutique Wong Cabello in Houston.

In June, two law firms in upstate New York merged to form a super-regional, Northeastern firm.  Hiscock & Barclay’s 204 lawyers have joined forces with 56-lawyer Damon Morey to form the new Barclay Damon. 

Of the 19 deals announced in the second quarter, 15 – or 79 percent – were acquisitions of law firms with 20 or fewer lawyers.  There was a broad geographic range to the acquired firms this quarter, including seven in the Midwest, five in the South, three in the Mid-Atlantic region, three in the western US and one in New England.

The complete list of law firm mergers and acquisitions announced in to date in 2015 as well as an archive from prior years and an eight-year trend summary are available online at www.altmanweil.com/MergerLine.

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 www.altmanweil.com/MergerLine.
     
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 www.altmanweil.com.

Contact Information

Eric Seeger
Principal
Altman Weil, Inc.
eseeger@altmanweil.com  

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