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Surge in Law Firm Mergers Predicted to Continue in 2024
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The realm of legal consultancy, Fairfax Associates, has unveiled a significant surge in law firm mergers during the initial quarter of 2024, surpassing the figures from the corresponding period in 2023 by an impressive 25 percent. According to Fairfax Associates, this heightened activity is anticipated to persist throughout the year.

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Statistics Unveiled

  
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Figures disclosed by Fairfax Associates on Monday revealed a notable increase in completed law firm mergers during the first quarter of 2024. A total of 20 mergers were finalized during this period, a stark contrast to the 16 mergers recorded during early 2023.

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Trends and Anticipations

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Lisa Smith from Fairfax Associates emphasized that the consultancy observes a considerable number of mergers being concluded within the first quarter, attributed to many firms aiming for an effective date of January 1. Smith further expressed her expectation for merger activity in 2024 to surpass the figures of the previous year, thereby continuing the upward trajectory observed over the past three years post a decline during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Factors Driving Merger Activity

Nearly two-thirds of the reported mergers in early 2024 involved firms with a lawyer count ranging between five and 20 on at least one side of the deal. Smith highlighted that smaller firms are increasingly acknowledging the challenges of operating at a small scale, contributing to the surge in merger activity. Additionally, firms are recognizing the advantages of growth concerning investments in technology and artificial intelligence.

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Notable Mergers

Among the mergers tracked by Fairfax Associates in the first quarter of 2024, the merger between Midwest law firms Ulmer & Berne and Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale emerged as the most prominent, resulting in the formation of 275-lawyer UB Greensfelder.

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Active Firms

Fennemore Craig emerged as the most active firm in the first quarter, finalizing three deals. On Monday, the firm announced its fourth combination, which will integrate approximately 50 lawyers from the Denver business law firm Moye White.

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Future Prospects

Looking ahead, the legal landscape anticipates significant changes, with Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling set to merge effectively on May 1. This amalgamation is poised to establish a firm boasting over 3,900 lawyers across 48 offices. In another development, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner announced its merger with the 12-lawyer Seattle litigation firm Harrigan Leyh Farmer & Thomsen on Tuesday.

By analyzing these trends and developments, it’s evident that the legal sector is undergoing a phase of dynamic transformation and consolidation, with mergers playing a pivotal role in reshaping the industry landscape.



 

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