Texas and California prime targets for law firm expansion

There were 22 law firm mergers and acquisitions announced in the United States in the third quarter of 2014, according to Altman Weil MergerLine. There have been a total of 62 law firm combinations reported from January through September 2014 slightly outpacing the first three quarters of 2013.

"Over half of the law firms acquired in deals announced in July, August and September were in southern or western states, with a focus on Texas and California," according to Altman Weil principal Eric Seeger. "There was also an uptick in international acquisitions."

Three AmLaw firms moved into the Texas legal market for the first time in the third quarter of 2014. LeClairRyan established a Houston office with its acquisition of 19-lawyer Hays McConn Rice & Pickering. Fox Rothschild acquired 18-lawyer Dallas firm, David & Goodman. Quinn Emanuel added five-lawyer Houston litigation boutique, Gerger & Clarke.

Two large US law firms expanded their operations in California. Hinshaw & Culbertson acquired 45-lawyer, California-based, insurance defense firm Barger & Wolen. Venable LLP bulked up its Los Angeles presence with the addition of seven-lawyer firm, Weingarten Brown.

The largest deal of the quarter was global law firm Hogan Lovells' pick up of 66-laywer Mexican firm, Barrera Siqueiros y Torres Landa, which has offices in Mexico City and Monterrey.

Three other firms made international acquisitions in the third quarter. DLA Piper expanded its presence in Prague with the addition of nine-lawyer Haskovcova & Co. Baker & McKenzie acquired two-lawyer Vani Chetty Competition Law in Johannesburg. And the newly merged Squire Patton Boggs acquired five-lawyer Toyko firm, Mamiya Law Offices.

"Large firms are pursuing geographic strategies that place them in hot markets or help them better serve large, international clients," Seeger explains. "They're following the money."

The complete list of law firm mergers and acquisitions announced to date in 2014 as well as an archive from prior years and a seven-year trend summary are available online at www.altmanweil.com/MergerLine.

Published: Thu, Oct 09, 2014

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