Another law firm merger is on the cards with the Washington law and lobbying firm Patton Boggs discussing a union with Squire Sanders, creating a firm with 1700 lawyers across 22 countries.
The talks follow the collapse of a proposed merger between Patton Boggs and Locke Lord, based in Texas.
The Wall Street Journal says the discussions are at an early stage but hopes are high among the firm principals for a cemented deal, which would help Patton Boggs deal with the costs of a global restructuring as well as helping it to extend its global influence.
Patton Boggs was an early pioneer in the lobbying/law arena and has a high reputation in the Washington beltway.
But its fortunes have faltered in recent years amid a contracting legal market and disappointing financial results. Patton Boggs’s revenues slid by 12% in 2013, to $278 million, and the firm is shutting down its Newark, N.J., office, whose earning power has plunged, the WSJ reports.
The 1,300-lawyer Squire Sanders network has 39 offices worldwide with major clients
Two sources close to Patton Boggs said at the time that Locke Lord had reservations about an ongoing legal battle between Patton Boggs and Chevron Corp over a multibillion-dollar environmental judgment against the oil giant in Ecuador, according to Reuters.
Squire Sanders’ announcement characterized the merger discussions as “preliminary.”
A source with knowledge of the talks who requested anonymity said that any merger between the two firms would be difficult to achieve given the recent turmoil at Patton Boggs.
Patton Boggs has been dealing with financial struggles over the past two years after seeing a number of cases settle, including the defense of New York City amid claims arising from contractors who suffered while responding to the 9/11 attacks.
In January, the firm reported to partners that 2013 revenue was $278 million, a 14 percent drop from $218 million in 2012, according to an analysis of figures in an internal memo obtained by Reuters.