New York law firms LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP and Dewey Ballantine LLP are in advanced merger talks, with an announcement of a deal expected as early as Monday, according to people familiar with the situation.
The combined firm would have roughly 1,300 lawyers. Mergers among the nation’s 100 largest firms occur infrequently, and marriages involving top New York law firms are rarer still. A combined LeBoeuf and Dewey would give it one of the largest offices in New York and one of the largest London offices of any U.S. law firm.
People close to the talks said that the deal could still fall apart but that talks were very far along.
This would be Dewey’s second attempt at getting to the altar with another big firm in less than a year. In October, Dewey and San Francisco-based Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP approved the main terms of a merger, but the deal later fell apart. Typically in law-firm mergers, the executive committees of each firm approve the main terms of a merger and the entire partnerships vote at a later date. Numerous partners left Dewey in the wake of its talks with Orrick, though the firm has since added a roughly equal number of partners.
LeBoeuf, which has grown significantly over the past several years, has added high-profile partners in recent months. In May, litigator Alan Salpeter left Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP for LeBoeuf. In April, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele joined the firm’s Washington office. In January, London corporate-finance partners Camille Abousleiman and Louise Roman Bernstein joined LeBoeuf from Dewey.