As reported in Morning Docket, the year is quickly drawing to a close, and two large law firms may be getting ready to celebrate their future together in 2014. Sources say that Blank Rome and Nixon Peabody have the urge to merge, and they’ve supposedly been in talks for two months or more.

The last three proposed Biglaw mergers we reported on — McKenna/Dentons, Pillsbury/Orrick, Patton Boggs/Locke Lord — fell apart, but if the Blank Rome/Nixon Peabody combination comes to fruition, their union would create one of the top 50 largest firms in the U.S. (number 33, to be exact).

Will they or won’t they? Let’s discus the details…

Casey Sullivan of Reuters has the scoop on what could be the 88th law firm merger announced in 2013:

The Boston law firm Nixon Peabody is in merger talks with Blank Rome in Philadelphia, two sources familiar with the talks said on Friday.

The two U.S. law firms have been in discussions for at least two months, according to a third source with direct knowledge of the talks. …

Blank Rome managing partner Alan Hoffman declined to confirm or deny the merger discussions, though he said no merger was imminent.

“I talk to firms all the time,” Hoffman said. “I heard one rumor that we’re going to merge with Nixon Peabody in January and that’s completely false. We are not on the verge of merging with anybody.”

Nixon Peabody Chief Executive Andrew Glincher did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for the firm declined to comment on any merger talks.

It seems like nobody wants to talk about this would-be merger, but what Hoffman did say may be telling. Just because Blank Rome doesn’t have plans to merge with Nixon Peabody in January, that doesn’t mean a tie-up between the two firms isn’t coming further down the pipeline in 2014.

Such a merger would create a law firm of more than 1,100, but let’s not forget that with mergers come reductions in redundancies. Nixon Peabody boasts 16 international offices, while Blank Rome has 11, and many of their largest locations overlap. According to their financials (gross revenue: $329M at BR v. $436M at NP; profits per partner: $750K at BR v. $775K at NP), Nixon Peabody is slightly ahead of the game, and since “everyone’s a winner” there, perhaps it will be their offices that remain largely intact post-merger.

Readers, do you have any thoughts on a possible merger between Blank Rome and Nixon Peabody? Do you see it as a promising union? Or do you take a dimmer view? Feel free to discuss in the comments. If you have particularly juicy tidbits, please send them to us directly via email or text (646-820-8477). Thanks!

Boston, Philadelphia laws firms in merger talks -sources [Reuters]


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