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Smaller Law Firms Acquiring More Work

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CounselLink, a legal software business in LexisNexis, analyzed $15 billion in legal fees recently, according to the Wall Street Journal. This led to the release of a report that reviewed the billings for 154 United States companies that have revenues from less than $1 billion to more than $10 billion.

These companies have helped law firms dominate the deals market in the United States.

Last year, the law firms that employ anywhere from 501 to 750 lawyers were the dominant force in the market.

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These law firms brought in 52 percent of high-value work and 37 percent of mergers and acquisition fees that were billed to the previously discussed companies in 2013. When you compare this to law firms with 750 or more lawyers, the numbers drop. Firms with 750 or more lawyers accounted for 29 percent of high-value work and 30 percent of mergers and acquisition fees.

“Why do you need to go to some mega-firm when you have a firm like us?” said David Kirkland, chair of the corporate department at Baker Botts LLP.

In 2013, the average hourly rate for mergers and acquisitions partners at the country’s largest law firms was $706, according to the data from CounselLink. The average hourly rate was $597 at firms that employ between 501 and 750 lawyers.

“They are seeing good enough outcomes that they are willing to do it with really big M&A matters,” said Jonah Paransky, vice president and managing director of product management at the software division of LexisNexis.

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