Small firm mergers predominate in first quarter

April 9th, 2012 by Altman Weil

There were 14 law firm mergers and acquisitions announced in the United States in the first quarter of 2012, according to Altman Weil MergerLine.   This continues the rebound of law firm combinations that began in the fall of 2010 and held through all of 2011.

“We’ve averaged about 15 mergers and acquisitions in each of the last six quarters,” said Altman Weil principal Eric Seeger. “The pace of merger activity is holding steady at pre-recession levels.” 

Typically, there are one or two big law firm mergers announced in the first quarter of the year, as well as a spate of small acquisitions and combinations — and 2012 is no exception.   There was one large law firm merger in the quarter, while the balance of reported combinations involved either the acquisition of a firm with 20 or fewer lawyers, or the merger of two small firms. 

Read it at Altman Weil

Download a list of first quarter mergers 

In a related article, the New York Law Journal looked at why small firms give up their independence to merge with larger entities.  Altman Weil principal Bill Brennan commented in the story:

“…many small firms have entered merger talks because the recession was a shock and they are now seeking some financial security as the economy recovers.

“If a law firm liked being a standalone entity, it had absolutely no difficulty in doing so,” [Brennan] said. Over the last 18 months, the legal market “has transitioned to a buyer’s market” for clients “where there’s not enough work to go around.”

Read it at New York Law Journal

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