Law Firm Mergers

Well, that was fast. Last week we learned of preliminary merger discussions taking place between Akin Gump and Orrick. But this morning, spokespersons for each firm released the following joint statement (which differed only in which firm’s name came first):

[The firms] have mutually agreed to conclude preliminary discussions regarding the possibility of a merger. The firms appreciated the opportunity to have the discussions, which confirmed their mutual respect for one another. However, the firms have determined not to proceed.

For an assessment of the pros and cons of an Akin / Orrick union, see here.

So what exactly happened here?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: Orrick and Akin Call Off Their Merger Talks”

* Orrick and Akin aren’t the only two who are talking. The firms of Reed Smith and Thompson & Knight are also in merger discussions. [Am Law Daily]

* A “cite-checking battle” actually sounds… kinda fun. [Laws for Attorneys]

* There’s a motion for leave to amend the complaint in the Robert Wone civil case. [Who Murdered Robert Wone?]

* Why your job is making you depressed. Maybe because it sucks? [CNN]

* Women of Biglaw: think you have it bad? Your sisters on Wall Street may be even worse off. [The Careerist]

* Speaking of women in the legal profession, nominations are now being accepted for InsideCounsel’s Transformative Leadership Awards, which “honor women general counsel and law firm partners who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the empowerment of women in corporate law.” [SuperConference]

Yesterday we discussed the merger talks that are currently taking place between Akin Gump and Orrick. We solicited your views on a possible combination, and we received some interesting feedback (in the comments and by other means).

Let’s start with the happy stuff. Here are some positive takes on an Orrick / Akin merger, from the comments (yes, positivity in the comments — it happens):

  • “I have been at both firms and I believe it would be a good fit both geographically and practice-wise. Orrick is almost all about finance, and finance is one key area that Akin lacks real depth.” [FN1]

  • “#1 Vacuum company in America + #1 brand of cocktail shrimp = unstoppable legal force.”

But it’s not all vacuums and cocktail shrimp, sunshine and puppies. Insiders with knowledge of both firms also identified downsides to a possible Orrick / Akin merger….

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Last week we started to hear rumors of a possible merger between Akin Gump and Orrick. One tipster offered this unenthusiastic take: “Suddenly, the firm that is known for professionalism and California-style collegiality courts the firm whose softball team is named ‘The Cheatahs?’”

Meow! Well, it appears that the rumors are true. Spokespersons for each firm just confirmed to Am Law Daily and the WSJ Law Blog that Orrick and Akin are in “preliminary,” “exploratory” discussions about a merger.

What would a combined firm look like?

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Since we last checked in on him on Twitter, John Quinn — founding partner of litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel, and one of the nation’s ‘s top business litigators — has gained about 200 followers. And if he keeps tweeting in such insightful, funny, and brutally candid fashion, his following — right now he’s at 665 followers — will only grow.

Check out his latest tweet, which is a bit… impolitic….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Tweet of the Day: John Quinn on a Possible Squire Sanders / Hammonds Merger”

Back in May, we reported on merger rumors involving Kilpatrick Stockton and Townsend and Townsend and Crew. As it turns out, the firms were in talks — but now those talks have fallen apart.

As the two firms told the Daily Journal, the talks were called off because of a familiar reason: potential client conflicts. According to a statement issued by Kilpatrick’s co-managing partner, William Dorris, “We explored merger discussions with our friends at Townsend, but clients always come first. When client-related conflicts could not be resolved, we could not proceed further.”

What made the merger alluring initially?

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Earlier this month, we mentioned the possibility of a merger between Mayer Brown and the U.K.-headquartered firm of Simmons & Simmons. Today we learn that the merger won’t be happening. Legal Week reports:

Simmons & Simmons and Mayer Brown have called off merger talks, the two firms have confirmed in a joint press statement sent today (29 June). The statement confirmed that the two firms have held preliminary talks about a potential merger but have jointly decided not to go through with a combination.

So what are the reasons behind termination of the talks?

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First Hogan & Hartson merged with Lovells. Then Sonnenschein merged with Denton Wilde. Now comes news that Mayer Brown is looking for a transatlantic partner — again. (Mayer previously merged with London-based Rowe & Maw.)

The Lawyer reports:

Mayer Brown and Simmons & Simmons have resumed merger talks, with both firms’ management set to brief their respective partnerships next week on the merits of a potential union.

Will this go merger go through? You know what they say: one is an accident, two is a trend, three is a problem…

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Now that both partnerships have voted, the merger between Sonnenschein and Denton Wilde is a done deal. But the ride between now and the effective merger date of September 30th could still be bumpy.

The first bump is coming from Thacher Proffitt & Wood. As TPW was dissolving, Sonnenschein scooped up 100 lawyers from Thacher Proffitt. The partners involved received significant compensation packages.

According to The Lawyer, those well-compensated partners are now thinking of leaving Sonnenschein, before the merger…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ghosts of Thacher Proffitt Get SNR Denton Off on a Sour Note”

A few weeks ago, news broke that Sonnenschein would merge with the U.K.-based firm of Denton Wilde. Today the firms announced that partners on both sides of the Atlantic unanimously voted in favor of the merger. From the Sonnenschein press release:

The partnerships of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP (SNR) and Denton Wilde Sapte LLP (Denton) today voted in favor of combining to form SNR Denton. Launching on September 30, 2010, SNR Denton will have more than 1,400 lawyers and professionals in 18 countries, forming a top 25 legal services provider worldwide by number of lawyers and professionals. SNR Chairman Elliott Portnoy and Denton CEO Howard Morris will serve as co-CEOs of SNR Denton.

The merger will become official on September 30th.

Congratulations to SNR-Denton partners, associates, and other employees. Let’s hope there are no redundancy layoffs on either side of the ocean.

Earlier: Law Firm Merger Mania: Sonnenschein to Merge with Denton Wilde

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