Biglaw, Brown Raysman, Law Firm Mergers, Money, Partner Profits, Thelen Reid & Priest

Another Day, Another Law Firm Merger

thelen reid & priest brown raysman.JPGOn the heels of the Dewey Ballantine/Orrick announcement, news of another law firm merger:

Partners at Thelen Reid & Priest and New York’s Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner voted to combine the two firms Monday, creating a 617-lawyer firm that, based on last year’s revenue, would have placed 56th on the Am Law 100 list.

The firm will be called Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner, and will be co-chaired, for 2 1/2 years, by Stephen O’Neal, Thelen’s chairman, and Julian Millstein, Brown’s co-managing partner.

Number 56? Skadden is hardly quaking in its boots.
The first thing you want to know when you hear about a law firm merger: What are the profits-per-partner at the respective firms?
Here are the numbers, from the WSJ Law Blog’s “wedding announcement” (cute):

Thelen Reid, 82 years old, is originally from San Francisco and has 391 lawyers. Its average profits per partner in 2005 were $850,000, according to the most recent American Lawyer survey. The firm has a prominent project finance practice and has a substantial presence in the construction, infrastructure, and energy industries.

Brown Raysman, 27 years old, is from New York. With 226 attorneys, the firm is known for its corporate and technology practices. Last year’s profits per partner at Brown Raysman were $720,000.

kremlin moscow red square.jpgBut here’s the rub: Thelen Reid has a two-tier partnership structure, while Brown Raysman only has one. Ruh-roh…

[Brown Raysman] partners at the combined firm will be slotted into San Francisco-based Thelen’s two-tier system of equity and non-equity partners….

Millstein [of Brown Raysman] said some of his colleagues will lose equity status, though he wouldn’t say how many. At the same time, he said, some Brown Raysman partners who don’t now share in the firm’s profits at all will be given some equity in the combined firm.

So some equity partners are going to be “de-equitized,” while other non-equity partners will be promoted to equity partner status. Interesting.
The environment over at Brown Raysman must be just delightful right now. Like the Kremlin, right before a big purge.
If you have any dirt about the merger to share with us, please drop us a line.
Partners Bless Thelen Reid-Brown Raysman Merger [The Recorder]
LB Wedding Announcement: Thelen Reid & Brown Raysman [WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: At Least They’re Not Merging With Cheetham & Howe

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