Some say the Pepper Hamilton merger discussions with Nixon Peabody have come to nothing. Others say the hot gossip is a marriage between Drinker Biddle and Gardner Carton. Is love in the air?

Some say the Pepper Hamilton merger discussions with Nixon Peabody have come to nothing. Others say the hot gossip is a marriage between Drinker Biddle and Gardner Carton. Is love in the air? 2

While one Pennsylvania firm has seen merger discussions fizzle out before they got very far, another looks like it might be getting closer to sealing the deal, according to some in the legal community.

Pepper Hamilton’s merger discussions with Rochester, N.Y.-based Nixon Peabody have come to an end, according to one person in the legal community who’s knowledgeable about the deal.

The source said that talk in the community and media gave more to the story than there was.

“They died of their own weights shortly after” it was first reported in March, the source said. “If they ever came to a start, they came to a conclusion.”

The source said that Pepper Hamilton has had several other and more significant merger discussions than the one with Nixon Peabody, but for some reason they were less discussed in the legal community.

Firm executive partner Robert E. Heideck has said that he will not comment on discussions he has with other firms.

While that merger won’t happen, there’s some speculation that there might be one on the horizon in the Windy City.

Drinker Biddle & Reath had been rumored to be in discussions with Chicago-based firm Gardner Carton & Douglas.

Mark Jungers, partner group leader for the Midwest offices of Major Lindsey & Africa said that “the Philadelphia people are spending a considerable amount of time in Chicago.”

Drinker Biddle managing partner Andrew C. Kassner said that he has been in Chicago a bit lately, but pointed out that he has several cases ongoing there.

Kassner said, as he has before, that the firm is still interested in bolstering its presence in the Windy City.

Drinker Biddle entered the Chicago market in April 2005 with two partners from Kelley Drye & Warren, and the firm currently has four attorneys there.

Jungers said that a merger with Drinker Biddle would be a positive scenario for Gardner Carton, whose stability some in the community have questioned.

A Gardner Carton spokesman said in June that he could not comment on the merger but defended the firm after sources questioned its financial health and group morale.

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