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Merger mania continues inside the world of Biglaw. Here’s the latest pair of firms to tie the knot:

Cooley Godward LLP, a 445-lawyer law firm known for its representation of West Coast technology companies, plans to merge with Kronish Lieb Weiner & Hellman LLP, a 110-lawyer New York firm specializing in commercial litigation, bankruptcy and white-collar defense.

The merger, which is expected to be announced today, will become effective Oct. 1. The new firm will be called Cooley Godward Kronish LLP.

kronish lieb logo.gifKronish who? In the Big Apple, a 110-attorney shop doesn’t count for much. There are national firms with New York branch offices bigger than that.
Cooley Godward is a much bigger firm, both in terms of headcount and reputation, than Kronish Lieb. It’s a victory for Kronish that this is being called a “merger” rather than an “acquisition,” and that the Kronish name — although not Lieb — will make its way into the new entity’s moniker.
Seems like Cooley was so desperate for a New York presence that it was willing to make such concessions. And Cooley isn’t what it once was:

During the 1990s, Cooley Godward gained a reputation as one of a handful of go-to law firms for West Coast technology companies in need of venture financing or intellectual-property help. But after the tech bubble burst in late 2000, the firm, like others that had focused on technology, struggled. Its revenue fell, and, in August of 2001, the firm laid off 86 associates. About a year later, the firm laid off 27 more.

So back in her heyday, Cooley could have probably landed herself a much more desirable suitor. But then she gained all that weight, and she let her looks go…
If you have any good scuttlebutt on this merger, please drop us a line (via email).
Law Firms Cooley Godward, Kronish Lieb Plan to Merge [Wall Street Journal]
Cooley Godward, NY’s Kronish Lieb Merging to Create 550-Lawyer Firm [New York Law Journal]


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