Law firm mergers announced in the U.S. in 2009 fell 24 percent from the previous year and may rise in 2010, Altman Weil MergerLine said in a report.
About four out of five of the 53 new deals involved buying law firms with 20 or fewer lawyers, according to Altman Weil, a legal consulting firm based in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania.
“Most firms spent 2009 focused on internal issues of cost cutting, layoffs, and compensation adjustments in response to the Great Recession,” Altman Weil consultant Ward Bower said in a statement. “We expect to see an uptick in 2010 as deals currently on hold pending 2009 year-end results are finalized.”
The largest announced deal of 2009 in terms of number of lawyers involved was the merger of London-based Lovells LLP and Washington-based Hogan & Hartson LLP, according to the survey, which said the two firms have 2,532 lawyers between them. Partners of both firms voted to approve the merger last month. The new firm will be known as Hogan Lovells starting May 1.
“The Hogan Lovells merger is going to rekindle interest in trans-Atlantic mergers and acquisitions in 2010,” Bower said.