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Law Firm Merger Numbers in 2011 to Continue in 2012
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The law firm consultancy The Hildebrandt Institute, has found that mergers amongst law firms increased by 65 percent from 2010 to 2011, and the report expects that more mergers will occur in 2012.

Kilpatrick Stockton joining with Townsend and Townsend and Crew was the largest merger in the United States last year, according to the Hildebrandt report. The second largest merger in the United States was the one between Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge’s and Wildman, Harrold & Dixon. The data compiled by Hildebrandt includes only mergers that have been completed in 2011, not ones that have been announced but not officially completed.

  
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The report also notes that there were 14 mergers completed in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 55 percent increase over the nine mergers that occurred in the third quarter. According to the report, there were 45 mergers that involved United States law firms in 2011, a 65 percent increase from the 27 that occurred in 2010.

The report from Hildebrandt also says that mergers in the country were regional, not national or international, showing that activity could be increasing to numbers seen before the recession. Those numbers included yearly merger averages of about 55 per year.

The most active merger areas of the country, as noted by the report, include Los Angeles (six law firm mergers), Texas (five, with four coming in Houston), Illinois (four) and Florida and New Jersey (each had three).

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The law firms that made Hildebrandt’s list for 2012 include Bingham Greenebaum Doll, Faegre Baker Daniels, Ice Miller, and Norton Rose Canada. Another 2012 merger expected to be completed is that of Hagood & Kerr being acquired by Moore & Van Allen. The two law firms announced that they would merge in January back on December 28, 2011. Four partners and five associates will be added to the Moore & Van Allen Charleston office, which houses 30 lawyers right now.

A founding member of Hagood & Kerr, Ben Hagood, Jr., is a former South Carolina state legislator. Hagood Jr. specialized in government affairs work. The addition of the Hagood & Kerr practice to that of Moore & Van Allen will help to expand the expertise of Moore & Van Allen in the areas of labor and employment, transactions, and bankruptcy.



Moore & Van Allen, according to their financial records, saw its revenue increase by 2.2 percent to $164.5 million in 2010. The report also shows that profits per partner increase 8 percent to $870,000. The revenue per lawyer was $585,000.

According to the Hildebrandt report, the international sector has also seen interest in law firm mergers. Asia, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom were noted by Hildebrandt as seeing major law firm mergers in 2011.



 

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