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Law firm mergers rebound in third quarter, involve smaller firms

Of the 14 law firm mergers last quarter, 12 involved at least one firm with fewer than 25 attorneys

After seeing a dip in the second quarter of 2012, law firm mergers are back, according to consulting firm Altman Weil. But these unions aren’t all multimillion-dollar affairs; in fact, most of the third quarter mergers involved smaller regional firms.

According to Altman Weil, there were 14 law firm mergers in the third quarter of 2012, the same amount as in the third quarter of last year. Of those mergers, 12 involved at least one firm with fewer than 25 attorneys. Overall, 35 of the 39 mergers announced this year involved firms with fewer than 25 lawyers.

That trend looks likely to continue in the fourth quarter, as three such mergers were announced Monday. Florida-based Carlton Fields announced plans to acquire New York boutique firm Rosner & Napierala, bringing six new attorneys on board. Adams and Reese, a 260-lawyer practice with offices throughout the South, acquired Igler & Dougherty of Tallahassee, Fla. Finally, Fort Lauderdale-based Becker & Poliakoff announced the acquisition of fellow Florida firm Cornett, Googe & Associates.

Gary Rosen, Becker & Poliakoff’s managing partner, told Thomson Reuters that deals between smaller firms are often easier to complete. “Negotiations tend to be less complicated,” he said, “and usually they can be accomplished in a short period of time.”

Read more at Thomson Reuters.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of law firm news, see:

Study says Biglaw profits look “grim” for 2012

Law firm managing partners lose confidence in economy

Court vacates $10.6 million malpractice judgment against Bryan Cave

HSBC sues Troutman Sanders for negligence

Court reinstates $500 million lawsuit against K&L Gates

Mergers of U.S. law firms dip in second quarter

Alanna Byrne

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