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Law Firm Mergers on Record Pace for 2014

A report was released last week from the consulting group of Altman Weil that says law firm mergers are occurring at a record pace. Now, the report shows that the mergers are occurring in smaller firms too, according to the Washington Post.

In the first three months of 2014, 22 law firms announced mergers or acquisitions, and 82 percent of them involved law firms that have 15 or fewer lawyers.

Two of the mergers involved law firms from Washington, D.C.; Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll and Miller Balis & O’Neil.

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Cohen Milstein, which has 65 lawyers, announced back in February that it had absorbed the law firm of Leopold Law, located in Florida. Leopold Law has just five lawyers.

Miller Balis, with 14 attorneys, was acquired by McCarter & English, from Newark, New Jersey.

2013 set the record for law firm mergers, with 88 of them announced.

Law firms are looking for different ways to make money with demand flat right now. One of those methods is to merge. This helps firms show growth.

The law firm of McDermott Will & Emery has created a consulting subsidiary that focuses on health-care lobbying, policy analysis and data analytics. It consists of seven members and is led by Eric Zimmerman, a partner in the firm’s D.C. office.

“Political activities, business development activities, networking activities … are part and parcel of having an effective lobbying capability, but not always easily translated into billable hours to a client,” Zimmerman said. “Being able to be free from the expectation you’re going to bill a certain number of hours in a day or month or year enables you to focus on different, but nonetheless productive, uses of your time.”

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