Heller Ehrman wins VLG merger race

West Coast firm Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe has emerged the victor in the three-way race to merge with Venture Law Group (VLG).
Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe and Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) were both courting directors at VLG, but Heller Ehrman has walked away with a merger deal with the technology-led firm.
News of the deal will come as a particular blow to previous frontrunner Orrick, which lacks a significant IT practice and had a referral relationship with VLG. Both Heller Ehrman and MoFo gained momentum in the merger race after news broke that Orrick was in negotiations with Cooley Godward. Those merger talks subsequently collapsed.
Heller Ehrman announced yesterday (2 September) that it is taking on 60 VLG lawyers, creating a 720-lawyer firm. The merger proposal is set to go before the partnerships of both firms on 9 September for final approval.
The combined firm will not add VLG to its name, but will use it for its global emerging company practice. Heller Ehrman chairman Barry Levin said the tie-in would allow the firm to attract “more global technology-based entrepreneurs” to its client base.