Novak Druce + Quigg has made its move on Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz and the two plan to be merged into marital bliss by the end of the year. Both are excited at the prospect, but the amorphous amoeba like procession of it all might be a bit unsettling to observers: the Houston-based Novak emerged out of Washington’s Howrey in 2005, absorbing many of the attorneys at that intellectual property law firm when it dissolved last year; meanwhile, two weeks ago Connolly of Wilmington Delaware, which is primarily into pharmaceutical litigation, lost a mass of 20 lawyers when their commercial litigation unit went independent; and now Novak is melding with the remainder of Connolly.
The goal, Novak explains, is to break into the American Lawyers’ annual Am Law 200 ranking of law firms by revenue, which means they’d have to gross somewhere at least around $87 million, which was what the smallest firm on the list earned in 2011.
The merger will make the new firm, which will be called Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg, 140 lawyers strong with seven offices, and rank them as the seventh-largest intellectual property law firm in the United States.
That’s risky business. Commentators have noticed IP firms have been struggling against general practice firms. But as Gregory Novak states, all firms are struggling, including the hapless Howrey.
The Delaware Law Weekly reports that Novak had been interested in the merger since the end of 2011.
“Talks started at the end of the year, but we eventually decided just to be good friends,” he said. But getting stuck in the friend-zone didn’t discourage the lusty gusto of the firm. “The interest always kept up and I gave [Connolly Bove managing partners] Jeff Bove a call two months ago and asked him if he was interested in restarting talks, which he was. That has taken us to today.”
The 20-lawyer exodus didn’t render Connolly any less special in the eyes of Novak. “The Connolly Gallagher move had zero impact on the merger talks,” said Novak, as DLW reported. “It wasn’t a positive and it wasn’t a negative.”
“I wasn’t involved in any of that,” he continued. “As I understand it, the Connolly Gallagher guys [who left] are really good, but wanted to be a more Delaware-focused practice. I expect that our two firms will get along well with each other.”
It is always good when a partner is willing to overlook the faults of the other. As Novak continued, “The more we looked at this merger, the more it made sense. They have the same attitude we do and have a blend of clients without any really significant overlap or conflict both in terms of clients and geographic locations. Connolly Bove has great depth and the life sciences and pharmaceutical side and we are involved in the software, computers, and high tech world.”
“We are the mirror opposite of Connolly Bove.”
Bove was equally amorous in their statement that “Our combined firm will flourish with an even larger, more focused national platform. Without doubt, our respective clients will benefit from the combined synergies of our new firms, and we could not be more excited about those possibilities. The combination fits perfectly with our long-term strategies.”
“Combining synergies,” is always the delight of a new merger, but soon they will have to draw close and get ready to take on the world. Novak remains as ambitious as ever and looks at this latest expansion as merely one step in their master plan.
“Yes there are expansion plans, but I can’t discuss them right now,” he said ominously.