Small deals dominate US law firm mergers

By Neasa MacErlean

08 January 2015 at 07:27 BST

Last year was the second highest in terms of merger activity - even if 87% of the 82 law firm combinations were small acquisitions.

The high level of activity is predicted to continue by the producers of the statistics, Altman Weil. Tom Clay of Altman Weil said: 'We expect this pace of law firm combinations to continue into 2015. Whether a firm is proactively buying into a hot geographic market or a new practice area or defensively consolidating against the threat of new competition, a strategic combination can offer a good solution.' 

Small mergers

The 2014 level was down by 7% on the year before when 88 deals took place. Altman explained the current state of the market in a statement: 'Large deals are not the norm in the current US legal market. Of the 82 law firm combinations reported in 2014, 59% were acquisitions of firms with between 2 and 5 lawyers, a dramatic jump from 2013 when only 36% of acquired firms fell into that size category.  An additional 28% of acquisitions were of firms with between 6 and 20 lawyers. Overall 87% of 2014 combinations were acquisitions of law firms with 20 or fewer lawyers.' Source: Altman Weil


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