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K&L Gates, Kirkland make headlines

One firm announces a merger, the other is named most valuable in the world

Yesterday was a big day for Big Law news.

Last night, K&L Gates and Australian law firm Middletons announced that their partners had approved their proposed merger. The combined firm will feature more than 2,000 lawyers in 46 offices worldwide and will retain the K&L Gates name. The deal, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2013, reflects an uptick in Australian mergers. In March, China’s top law firm, King & Wood, merged with Australia’s top firm, Mallesons Stephen Jaques. And in June, U.K.-based Herbert Smith merged with the Australian firm Freehills.

Kirkland & Ellis also was in the news yesterday. The firm topped the list of the American Lawyer’s most valuable law firms. The publication valued Kirkland at $3.95 billion. Other top-valued firms include Latham & Watkins ($3.8 billion); Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom ($.3.34 billion); Allen & Overy ($2.71 billion); and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher ($2.71 billion). (Read the Wall Street Journal Law Blog for more information about the publication’s methodology for determining valuations.)

For more recent law firm news, read:

Skadden, Simpson Thacher announce year-end bonuses

Cravath doles out bigger year-end bonuses

Personnel updates from Weil, Gotshal and Jenner & Block

Former antitrust chief joins Simpson Thacher

Survey predicts reduction in law firm partners

50 best law firms for women named

Through merger and practice group acquisition, two firms see growth

Ashley Post

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