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Pillsbury, Dickstein Shapiro in merger discussions

Sources say firms’ leaders have been talking for a month

Another law firm marriage could be on the horizon.

Yesterday, anonymous sources told Thomson Reuters that leaders from New York-based Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and Washington-based Dickstein Shapiro have been in “serious and ongoing” merger discussions for the past month.

Some sources familiar with the discussions say the merger isn’t anywhere near complete, but one source speculated that the discussions may have ceased because of concerns about the financial structure of the deal.

In a statement, a Dickstein spokeswoman said the firm was remaining strategic in its growth plan and that it had a “rock-solid, debt-free financial platform.” Although the spokeswoman said the firm was “very optimistic” about its future, she would not comment on the possible Pillsbury merger discussions. A Dickstein partner also confirmed yesterday that the firm has been in merger talks with multiple law firms, though he didn’t confirm that Pillsbury was one of them.

Meanwhile, a Pillsbury spokesperson declined to comment.

A marriage between the two firms would strengthen Pillsbury’s government contracts, intellectual property and insurance practices. The merger also would augment Dickstein’s energy and corporate practices.

Pillsbury has 615 lawyers, and Dickstein has 340 lawyers, but it’s unclear whether the marriage would result in layoffs, promotions or demotions, according to Thomson Reuters.

Dickstein is the latest law firm Pillsbury has courted over the past couple years. Last year, the firm was in talks with Fulbright & Jaworski before the latter announced that it would merge with Norton Rose last month. Before that, Pillsbury considered merging with Nixon Peabody and Chadbourne & Parke.

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Ashley Post

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