Slow Pace of Law Firm Mergers Continues Into 2010

Newtown Square, PA, April 6, 2010 — There were eight new law firm combinations announced in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2010 according to Altman Weil MergerLine, continuing the slow down of mergers from 2009.

“Although we’re seeing a lot more interest in mergers and acquisitions behind the scenes this year, it will take some time for law firms to shift gears from the internal crisis management focus of 2009 back to an outwardly facing, strategic stance,” said Altman Weil principal Tom Clay.  “There will be a ramp-up period in the next few quarters before we see the pace of deal-making increase significantly.”

Of the eight law firm combinations announced so far in 2010, all involved the acquisition of firms with fewer than 50 lawyers, and five were acquisitions of firms with under ten lawyers.

The largest acquisition of the first quarter was 245-lawyer, Morristown NJ-based McElroy Deutsch’s acquisition of 45-lawyer Pepe & Hazard, headquartered in Hartford CT.   The deal that created the largest newly combined firm was New Orleans-based Jones Walker’s acquisition of 22-lawyer Walston Wells of Birmingham AL, forming a firm of over 300 lawyers.  Additionally, Benesch Friedlander, a 145-lawyer firm based in Cleveland, acquired Dann Pecar, a 26-lawyer Indianapolis law firm. 

Three of the first quarter combinations were of Middle-Atlantic law firms.  Two were combinations of Midwestern firms; two were combinations of firms in the Southern US, and one deal was multi-regional, between a Middle-Atlantic firm and a New England firm.
  
A complete list of law firm mergers and acquisitions announced to date in 2010, as well as an archive from prior years and a three-year trend summary are available online at www.altmanweil.com/MergerLine.

About Altman Weil MergerLine™
Altman Weil MergerLine™ is an online tracking service hosted by legal management consultancy Altman Weil, Inc. It 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.

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Contact Information

Thomas S. Clay
Altman Weil, Inc.
(610) 886-2015
tsclay@altmanweil.com

Go to Altman Weil MergerLine to view the complete list of 2010 law firm mergers, an archive from prior years, and links to related articles.

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