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2016 Was a Strong Year for Law Firm Mergers & Acquisitions
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Summary: In 2016, there were over 80 law firm mergers and acquisitions.

In 2016, there were 85 law firm mergers and acquisitions, according to consulting firm Altman Weil. This is the fourth consecutive year that there have been 80 or more reported deals of this kind following the recession. According to the consulting firm press release, 84% of all acquisitions were with small law firms and 52% of all deals occurred in the same state.

  
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“It’s a post-recession reality that with market demand flat-lining the most-effective way to add new business is to acquire another law firm,” Altman Weil principal Tom Clay said.  “But as the supply of prime targets inevitably shrinks, we expect the competition to make high-quality deals will intensify in 2017.”

According to Altman Weil, the largest merger of 2016 was between Eversheds and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan. The UK-based Eversheds had 1,900 attorneys while Atlanta-Based Sutherland had 400 lawyers. The two firms was one of eleven multi-country combinations announced in 2016, which include London-based Clyde & Company’s merger with Miami-based Thornton Davis & Fein.

The largest international acquisition by an American firm was Littler’s acquisition of France’s Fromont Briens. Other notable American firms acquiring foreign offices include Norton Rose Fulbright’s pick up of Canada-based firm Bull Housser and Dentons acquisition of Costa Rica’s Munoz Global. Haynes & Boone; Holland & Knight; and DLA Piper also acquired European law firms in 2016.

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In the United States, Washington DC-based Arnold & Porter and New York-based Kaye Scholer merged; Baker Donelson merged with Baltimore-based Ober Kaler; and Husch Blackwell expanded its Midwestern profile by combining with Whyte Hirschboeck in Milwaukee.

California was the top state for law firm acquisitions with eight law firms outside of the state entering or growing their presence in 2016. Additionally, three California law firms made in-state deals.



For a complete list of 2016 law firm mergers and acquisitions, you can find the Altman Weil report here: www.altmanweil.com/MergerLine.

Source: Altman Weil

What do you think of Altman Weil’s report? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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