Slow economy, fewer mergers

October 8, 2008
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Here’s more proof that law firms are struggling in this economy: opportunities for mergers are lessening.

When I think of the economy worsening, I think law firms that are teetering on the brink of going under would try to find another firm to merge with as a way to save costs, combine efforts, and attract or keep clients.

But here’s an interesting observation from Altman Weil Mergerline, an online tracking service from the legal management consulting company Altman Weil, that didn’t cross my mind: the volatile economy we are currently experiencing is actually slowing mergers. So it seems, those firms who are struggling to stay afloat right now and may think merging with a stronger firm is the best way to keep the firm going may be surprised to find firms hunkering down and holding off on merging.

Despite the current slowdown, Altman Weil reports to date, 2008 has already seen 14 more mergers than in 2007, despite the fact third-quarter deals are down from last quarter.

According to Altman Weil, our state has already had three firm mergers this year: Sommer Barnard becoming Taft Stettinius & Hollister; Warsaw firm Miner Lemon & Walston merging with Indianapolis firm Stallwood Law Office; and McTurnan & Turner joining forces with Bingham McHale. In August, Indianapolis firm Coleman Stevenson announced it was merging with the Montel Law Firm of Carmel.

With the volatile economy, do you think Indiana will see any more mergers this year?
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