Law Firm Mergers Decrease in 2nd Quarter
Download PDF

Over the past three months, the number of United States law firm mergers and acquisitions decreased, according to surveys conducted by consulting firm Altman Weil Inc and Hildebrandt Institute, which is a division of Thomson Reuters. From April to June, law firms announced just 10 mergers, which was a decrease from 14 mergers in the first quarter, according to Altman Weil. On Wednesday, the Hildebrandt Institute said that the number of mergers to close during the second quarter fell from 20 to five. The surveys did not mention what the outlook would be for mergers in the third quarter.

There were a variety of factors that played into the drop of mergers. Some of those factors include law firms focusing on strengthening local markets and the bankruptcy case of Dewey & LeBoeuf, which was the result of a merger in 2007. The marketplace gained close to 300 partners from Dewey as it wound down its operations over the past six months, which could have reduced the need for firms to pursue new partnerships with other firms, according to Ward Bower. Bower is a consultant for Altman Weil.


In May, the law firm of Winston & Strawn added a group of 60 lawyers formerly from Dewey. The group was led by Dewey’s former global litigation chair Jeffrey Kessler. Another firm, Greenberg Traurig, considered a partnership with Dewey but nothing came to fruition. Instead, Greenberg added over 50 lawyers from the Warsaw office of Dewey. According to Kent Zimmermann, a consultant with Zeughauser Group, said that the legal industry was unnerved by the failure of Dewey because the firm’s failure highlighted how risky mergers can be today. Zimmermann said Dewey “made many firms cautious in evaluating growth strategy,” he said and the firm’s failure could have had a hand in the decrease in the number of mergers recently.

One of the mergers announced involved Frost Brown Todd and MGLAW from Nashville back in May. Frost Brown Todd is a multistate firm of 450 attorneys and the Nashville firm has seven attorneys. Also in May, the firm of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney announced that it would acquire Manion McDonough & Luca. Both firms are in Pittsburg and Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney has 415 lawyers. Zimmermann also said that law firms are beginning to scrutinize possible merger partners a lot more now.

“There are a number of underperforming firms out there, and firms that are thinking of growing know that and want to evaluate opportunities with scrutiny,” he said. “Nobody wants to wind up with a lemon.”

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!!





Search Now

Defense Attorney with 3-4 years of litigation experience

USA-CA-San Francisco

San Francisco office of our client seeks defense attorney with 3-4 years of solid litigation experie...

Apply Now

Attorney with 3-7 years of litigation experience


Chicago office of our client seeks attorney with 3-7 years of litigation experience. The candidate s...

Apply Now

Mid-level IP Litigation Attorney with electrical engineering experience

USA-CA-San Francisco

San Francisco office of our client seeks mid-level intellectual property attorney with 3-5 years of ...

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


Trust Administrative Associate / Office Manager


FIRM OVERVIEW: Laurel Trust Company (LTC) a retail trust company under organization in Reno, Nev...

Apply now

Associate Attorney


Over my objection, and after nineteen years together, my 69 year old partner is retiring.  I ne...

Apply now

Part-time Paralegal / Legal Assistant


Family Law and Criminal Defense law firm is seeking part-time (20-30 hours per week w/ Flexible sche...

Apply now

Legal Assistant (Dallas)


We are a growing firm in need of an experienced, reliable, flexible, and proactive litigation Legal ...

Apply now

Most Popular


To Top