The Lawyer’s new China Elite report contains the most detailed research available on the PRC legal market and contains unparalleled insight into the country's leading law firms. They vary in size, practice focus and geographic coverage, but they all share one common quality – ambition... Read more
An exhaustive analysis of the UK market including every firm in the top 200 ranked, analysed and benchmarked, UK chambers ranked by turnover, revenue per barrister and which international firms are most active in the UK.
Merger-mania hit the US late last month as two potentially market-changing deals broke cover in less than a week. Then, within 24 hours, one collapsed.
Few in the market will have been surprised that Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe featured prominently in one of the potential mergers. The firm, which earlier this year confirmed it had been talking to SJ Berwin about a possible deal, has developed a reputation as a serial merger partner.
It kicked off its latest round of talks in the final days of September, with Texas-based Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. By the first week of October the deal was off.
Just days after the Orrick-Akin news broke it emerged that another Texas firm, 350-lawyer Thompson & Knight, was also in merger talks, this time with another firm that is no stranger to merger discussions, Reed Smith.
As the firm’s global managing partner Greg Jordan says: “Reed Smith has indicated its interest both in the Texas market and in expanding its energy practice.”
Following the launch of Latham & Watkins’ office in Houston with eight partners the indications are that the energy-rich state of Texas is currently topping the list of many firms’ strategic ambitions.
Peter Kalis, global managing partner at K&L Gates, says the rationale for the present crop of merger talks is clear.
“Texas has the GDP of Canada and it’s larger than India’s,” says Kalis. “It’s a $1trillion-plus per year economy, with more Fortune 500 companies headquartered there than in New York. It’s unthinkable that a global law firm would not be strategically positioned in Texas.”
Kalis’s firm spotted this three years ago when it merged with Dallas-based Hughes & Luce, adding 150 lawyers.
“In 2009 our Texas offices performed nearly $30m (£18.9m) in work on engagements sourced elsewhere on the platform and exported nearly $20m to other offices,” adds Kalis. “As this level of integration reveals, our 2008 merger with Hughes & Luce has been a strategic success from the beginning.”