Law Firm Merger Numbers Closing in on Pre-Recession Levels
Download PDF

A survey released by Altman Weil shows that mergers for law firms are bouncing back to the levels they were at prior to the recession of 2008 and 2009. Across the country, there were 60 mergers in 2011, with the number showing that confidence has risen when it comes to moving into new markets.

“We saw a dip during the recession,” Altman Weil principal Ward Bower said. “Nobody was concentrating on strategy. Everyone was concentrating on survival. Now that we are out of the recession, and although it is not a strong recovery by any means, it has inspired a lot of confidence in a lot of firms who are looking to grow again.”


There were four firms from Philadelphia that acquire firms from outside of the city in 2011. The firm of Fox Rothschild added a small intellectual property group from Los Angeles. Seven lawyers in Boston were added to Saul Ewing, 10 lawyers from Houston were added to Blank Rome, and Haddonfield’s Archer Greiner merged with Herten Burstein in Hackensack, New Jersey.

“This was an opportunity for us to get into the downtown market,” Abraham Reich, cochairman of Fox Rothschild, said of the merger with the L.A. firm in 2011. “Is the worst behind us? The answer is yes. But with a footnote. People are still very conservative, as opposed to being bullish.”

The Philadelphia region relies heavily on its law firms when it comes to the economy. Those firms took big hits during the recession but not as big as the ones suffered by the firms in New York, which are tied to Wall Street.

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!

A study released by Altman Weil earlier in 2011 said that more companies were increasing their legal spending, either by hiring internally or spending for outside counsel.

The 60 mergers for 2011 matches the number for mergers in 2007, before the recession hit the United States, and when law firm mergers hit its zenith. In 2008, law firm mergers rose to 70, reflecting merger agreements that had already been in place. In 2009, the number of mergers dropped to 53 and then dropped to 39 in 2010 before jumping back up to 60 in 2011.

Merger two law firms together is a major risk that not many firms were willing to take during the country’s recession. The reason for this is the fact that an ill conceived merger could cost a firm millions of dollars if the result does not work in its favor.

Bower explained that firms that merged in the previous year did so in an effort to meet their clients’ needs. Even though the pace of law firm mergers has increased, the competition to find strong candidates to merge with has also increased greatly.





Search Now

Junior Commercial Litigation Attorney with products liability experience


Phoenix office of our client seeks junior commercial litigation attorney with 1-3 years of experienc...

Apply Now

Employment Defense Attorney with 5+ years of litigation experience

USA-CA-Los Angeles

Los Angeles office of our client seeks employment defense attorney with 5+ years of litigation exper...

Apply Now

IP Patent Attorney with 2-5 years of computer engineering experience


Milwaukee office of our client seeks intellectual property patent attorney with 2-5 years of experie...

Apply Now

Labor and Employment Attorney with 3-4 years of litigation experience

USA-CA-Los Angeles

Los Angeles office of our client seeks labor and employment attorney with 3-4 years of litigation ex...

Apply Now


Legal Development Associate

USA-WI-Menomonee Falls

Seeking a talented and dedicated Real Estate Paralegal!   Continental Properties Company,...

Apply now



Hall Prangle & Schoonveld is a national trial defense law firm. We are seeking candidates for an Ass...

Apply now



Growing full-service law firm based in Fort Collins and Greeley is seeking a full time Paralegal. Th...

Apply now

Paralegal / Legal Assistant


Compensation $12 to $15 Hourly Employment Type Full-Time Last online 3 hours ago Why ...

Apply now

Most Popular


To Top