Drinker Biddle and Gardner Carton merge

Philadelphia-headquartered firm Drinker Biddle & Reath and Chicago-based firm Gardner Carton & Douglas have become the latest in a long list of mid-market US firms to merge in recent months.

The merger will be effective from 1 January 2007. It will create a top 70 firm with 677 lawyers spread across 12 US offices. Its annual gross revenue will be more than $350m (£184.5m).

The combined entity will be headquartered in Philadelphia and will practise under the name Drinker Biddle & Reath. However, it will operate in Illinois and Wisconsin as Drinker Biddle Gardner Carton for an unspecified transition period.

The merger comes as the number of deals between mid-market US firms continues to escalate. Washington DC-based firm Crowell & Moring, for example, acquired 20-lawyer litigation firm King Pagano Harrison.

Dewey Ballantine and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe are due to merge on 1 January 2007, while Reed Smith recently secured a Chicago presence after agreeing to merge with Sachnoff & Weaver.