07 Apr 2014

Record number of mergers for US law firms

US law firms are merging at an unprecedented rate with smaller law firms now leading the way, according to the latest research.


According to figures released from management consultants Altman Weil,  the first quarter of 2014 saw 22 law firm mergers take place. Of these deals, 18 were acquisitions of small law firms with 15 or fewer lawyers. The surge follows last year’s record actitivies –which saw 88 law firms merging. According to the research, the largest deal so far is 425 lawyer Pittsburg firm Buchanan Ingersoll which combined with 92 lawyer Florida law firm Fowler White Boggs. 
Meanwhile Cincinnati-based Dinsmore & Shohl  picked up 35-lawyer public finance firm Peck Shaffer & Williams, pushing the firm over the 500-lawyer mark. Another firm heading down the merger trail this year was Marshall Dennehey, a 471-lawyer Philadelphia-based insurance defense firm which announced an expansion in New York with a marriage to 30-lawyer Jones Hirsch Connors Miller & Bull. 

'True merger'

In what Altman Weil describe as ‘ the only true merger of the quarter’,  two mid-sized Tennessee firms, Knoxville-based Lewis King Krieg & Waldrop and Thomason Hendrix Harvey Johnson & Mitchell in Memphis joined forces to form a new firm, the 91 lawyer Lewis Thomason.