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Small law firm acquisitions drive record year in mergers

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Law firm combinations were up 47 percent in 2013, which is the highest number of combinations recorded in the seven years that Altman Weil MergerLine has been compiling data, the organization announced Wednesday.

The surge in mergers last year was driven by a boom in acquisitions of small law firms, said Altman Weil principal Ward Bower.

“These kinds of deals are smart, low-risk moves to enter new markets and acquire new clients, and we expect the trend to continue in 2014,” he said.

Of the 88 law firm combinations reported in 2013, 82 percent were acquisitions of firms with 20 or fewer lawyers. Most of the larger deals in 2013 involved a bigger firm that was at least five times the size of a smaller firm with which it combined.

Bower also pointed out that most of the law firm combinations these days are actually acquisitions, not mergers.

“The complexity of a true merger of equals is exponentially greater. There are any number of potential pitfalls on the way to the altar,” he remarked.

Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP recently completed its merger with Chicago firm Shefsky & Forelich. Four other firms with Indiana ties combined in 2013. In June, Lorch and Naville and Ward King Agnew in New Albany combined to create a 14-attorney firm of Lorch Naville Ward LLC. In September, Fort Wayne firm Federoff Kuchmay LLP merged with Carson Boxberger LLP, upping the total of attorneys at Carson Boxberger to 27.
 

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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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