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IBA: Law Firm Mergers Hold Steady Nationally at Pre-Recession Pace

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There were 14 law firm mergers and acquisitions announced in the United States in the first quarter of 2012, according to Altlman Weil. 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.

In January, Atlanta-based McKenna Long & Aldridge announced its intention to merge with California law firm Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps. The merger, which was finalized in March, created a new firm of over 550 lawyers.

Five large law firms made geographic moves, expanding their footprints with small, strategic acquisitions. K&L Gates acquired Marini Salsi Picciau in Milan, giving the firm its first Italian office. Littler Mendelson moved into Memphis with the acquisition of labor and employment boutique Kiesewetter Wise Kaplan Prather. Jackson Lewis strengthened its position in Milwaukee by combining with Simandl & Prentice. Baker Donelson made its second acquisition in the hot Houston market, with Drucker Rutledge & Smith. And, Womble Carlyle added an office in the South Carolina capital by acquiring Hall & Bowers in Columbia.

Carroll Burdick & McDonough, a San Francisco-based firm with 72 lawyers, made the only other cross-border deal of the quarter. The firm combined with Schweiger & Partners, a 5-lawyer, intellectual property boutique with offices in Germany and Singapore.

“In this type of combination, the larger firm is able to acquire new client relationships in new markets and the smaller firm is able to execute a transition that works for the partners and their clients,” Seeger explained.

In addition to the 14 new law firm combinations announced between January and March 2012, there were eleven deals announced at the end of last year that were finalized in the first quarter. This is also typical of the annual pattern of merger activity.

There were several noteworthy deals in this category, including Bryan Cave’s acquisition of Holme Roberts & Owen to create a firm with over 1,000 lawyers; and the merger between Faegre & Benson, a 447-lawyer firm headquartered in Minneapolis, and 323-lawyer, Indianapolis firm Baker & Daniels.•

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  1. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

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  3. So if I am reading it right, only if and when African American college students agree to receive checks labeling them as "Negroes" do they receive aid from the UNCF or the Quaker's Educational Fund? In other words, to borrow from the Indiana Appellate Court, "the [nonprofit] supposed to be [their] advocate, refers to [students] in a racially offensive manner. While there is no evidence that [the nonprofits] intended harm to [African American students], the harm was nonetheless inflicted. [Black students are] presented to [academia and future employers] in a racially offensive manner. For these reasons, [such] performance [is] deficient and also prejudice[ial]." Maybe even DEPLORABLE???

  4. I'm the poor soul who spent over 10 years in prison with many many other prisoners trying to kill me for being charged with a sex offense THAT I DID NOT COMMIT i was in jail for a battery charge for helping a friend leave a boyfriend who beat her I've been saying for over 28 years that i did not and would never hurt a child like that mine or anybody's child but NOBODY wants to believe that i might not be guilty of this horrible crime or think that when i say that ALL the paperwork concerning my conviction has strangely DISAPPEARED or even when the long beach judge re-sentenced me over 14 months on a already filed plea bargain out of another districts court then had it filed under a fake name so i could not find while trying to fight my conviction on appeal in a nut shell people are ALWAYS quick to believe the worst about some one well I DID NOT HURT ANY CHILD EVER IN MY LIFE AND HAVE SAID THIS FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS please if anybody can me get some kind of justice it would be greatly appreciated respectfully written wrongly accused Brian Valenti

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