Biglaw, Law Firm Mergers, Law Firm Names, Mergers and Acquisitions

Law Firm Merger Mania: K&L Gates + Hughes & Luce

The combined firm will have over 1,500 lawyers in 23 offices. It will “employ the K&L Gates brand and have the legal name of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP.” Press release here.
Update: Some commentary from an inside source, after the jump.
K&L Gates, Hughes & Luce Partners Vote to Combine Firms Effective January 1 [K&L Gates]


Here’s what one source has to say about the merger:
The story we told is that the firm wanted to get a foothold in the Texas market, because of the job and business growth there. Hughes & Luce was not getting big pieces of corporate or litigation work, because they had no offices outside Texas. The K&L legacy Dallas office did not “take” (just a series of lateral hires and little growth), so the firm looked to acquire a firm. The Hughes & Luce managing partner will be on the Management Committee, and each Texas office will have an administrative partner from legacy Hughes & Luce, who is supposed to function like a local managing partner (although they may not have as much autonomy as they think).
We heard the cultures fit well, but there was also concern because K&L was paying $125K in Dallas for first-years and Hughes was at $135K, moving to $160K in January. They are going with the pay scale Hughes & Luce announced, which approximately equals the Texas market, so all first-years will be at $160K in January.
Predictions are that the Dallas office will grow to 200 within a few years, but that is contingent on beefing up the corporate practice significantly, which has apparently lagged at Hughes (lots of turnover, difficult partners to work for, etc.).
We are also hearing that the firm will open a Houston office soon and acquire a firm in the Chicago legal market (the last major market the firm is not in).

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