Clark Hill’s Recent Merger Contributes to a Dynamic Year for Law Firm Combinations
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Clark Hill, a prominent law firm, announced its latest expansion through a combination with Funkhouser Vegosen Liebman & Dunn, a smaller Chicago-based law firm. This merger marks Clark Hill’s third successful deal in 2023, following previous tie-ups with Larsson & Scheuritzel and Conrad O’Brien, both Philadelphia-based firms.

Integrating Funkhouser Vegosen Liebman & Dunn, a firm comprising 16 attorneys, demonstrates Clark Hill’s strategic approach to augmenting its legal capabilities. The previous year has witnessed an upsurge in law firm mergers, with data from legal consultancy Fairfax Associates revealing a notable increase in completed mergers during the first half of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022 and 2021. Fairfax Associates reported 28 mergers in the first half of this year, in contrast to 25 deals during the corresponding periods of the previous two years.

Clark Hill CEO, John Hensien, emphasized the firm’s objective of expanding its market presence in existing offices to achieve an optimal size. With approximately 700 lawyers in the United States, Ireland, and Mexico, Clark Hill’s growth strategy focuses on strategically consolidating its position. Hensien acknowledged the firm’s previous mergers with Morris Polich & Purdy (a 100-lawyer firm) and Strasburger & Price (a 200-lawyer firm) in 2017 and 2018, which led to an extensive network of 27 offices. However, Hensien recognized the need for right-sizing the firm’s operations to align with its current size.


The lawyers from Funkhouser Vegosen Liebman & Dunn bring expertise across various legal areas, including corporate law, commercial litigation, intellectual property, technology, banking, and mergers and acquisitions. Vance Liebman, co-founder of the merged firm, expressed satisfaction with the combination, referring to it as the result of a strategic process initiated 18 months prior. The firm’s strategic planning encompassed aspects such as succession planning and anticipation of future client needs.

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Clark Hill has had a presence in Chicago since 2007 and will significantly strengthen its position in the city with the addition of Funkhouser Vegosen Liebman & Dunn’s lawyers. The merged entity will boast a legal team of over 90 lawyers in Chicago alone, underscoring Clark Hill’s commitment to expanding its footprint and providing enhanced legal services in the region.

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The legal industry has witnessed a wave of mergers and acquisitions in recent years, driven by various factors such as market consolidation, geographic expansion, and synergy creation. By joining forces with complementary firms, legal entities can pool resources, talent, and expertise to better serve their clients’ needs.

Clark Hill‘s recent series of mergers exemplifies its proactive approach to growth and adaptability in a changing legal landscape. By strategically aligning with smaller, specialized firms, Clark Hill aims to strengthen its practice areas and enhance its service offerings. The combination with Funkhouser Vegosen Liebman & Dunn represents another milestone in Clark Hill’s expansion strategy, solidifying its position as a leading law firm.

As the legal industry continues to evolve, law firms are exploring opportunities to maximize their competitive advantage through mergers and collaborations. These partnerships not only facilitate growth but also enable firms to tap into new markets, expand their client base, and access a wider range of legal expertise.

Clark Hill’s merger with Funkhouser Vegosen Liebman & Dunn highlights the firm’s commitment to strategic growth. With a series of successful combinations in 2023 and a focus on right-sizing its operations, Clark Hill is well-positioned to navigate the evolving legal landscape while providing enhanced legal services to its clients.

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