Biglaw, Law Firm Mergers, Partner Issues

Law Firm Merger Mania: K&L Gates Merging With Middletons

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you some important news about Middletons: she’s having a baby!

Oops, sorry, wrong Middletons. We’re talking about the Australian law firm, not the Duchess of Cambridge.

The long-running merger talks between K&L Gates and Middletons have borne fruit. The partnerships of both firms just voted to approve the transaction.

Let’s learn more about the shape of this new entity…

Here’s a report via the WSJ Law Blog (which appears to have put up a paywall, like the one for the Wall Street Journal itself, for the first time since the Law Blog launched in 2006; did we miss the memo?):

On Monday night the firms announced that both sets of partners approved the deal. The merger will add Middletons’s 300 lawyers and four Australian offices to K&L Gates’s global enterprise, making for a total of more than 2,000 lawyers in 46 offices worldwide. The combined firm will bear the K&L Gates name, and the merger is to take effect Jan. 1, 2013.

As a practical matter, the K&L Gates are closing around Middletons. In addition to the size differential between the two firms, which favors K&L Gates, and the use of the K&L Gates name going forward, leadership also goes to K&L Gates. As the ABA Journal notes, Peter Kalis, the colorful and compelling chairman of K&L Gates, will run the post-merger entity. The current national managing partner of Middletons, Nick Nichola, will assume the role of Australia managing partner for K&L Gates.

So it sounds like the efforts of anonymous emailers to scuttle the deal have failed. Congratulations to both firms on the union, and good luck to the new K&L Gates as it expands its global footprint to a fifth continent.

P.S. In case you’re wondering, the two continents the firm has yet to conquer are Africa and Antarctica. If K&L Gates hurries, perhaps it can beat DLA Piper to the latter.

K&L Gates to Merge with Australian Law Firm Middletons [ABA Journal]
K&L Gates, Australia’s Middletons to Combine [K&L Gates (press release)]
Merger Madness: K&L Gates, Middletons Seal the Deal [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

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