Holland & Knight gets closer to target size with NY merger

Florida firm Holland & Knight, one of the 10 largest US firms, is merging with New York practice Gilbert Segall and Young.

The merger increases the firm’s lawyer count to 130 in New York and gives it its first presence in Europe through Gilbert Segall’s Finland office.

Gilbert Segall is a 30-lawyer firm focusing on real estate, M&A, litigation and charity work. Its clients that include telecoms group Nokia and Japan Tobacco. Of the firm’s lawyers, 15 will join Holland & Knight as partners.

Holland & Knight litigation partner John Reilly says: “The background picture is that Holland & Knight came to New York about four years ago and joined with Haight Gardner Poor & Havens. We had a narrow focus then, mostly to do with transportation, maritime and aviation law. It’s been a long-term objective to diversify the practice in the New York office to include other practice areas such as real estate and securities. We’ve accomplished some of that during the four years, but this adds a great team.”

Gilbert Segall has a two-partner office in Helsinki and a senior Finnish lawyer based in New York who coordinates that practice.

Holland & Knight has 1,200 lawyers in 24 offices throughout the US and other international presences in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Mexico City and Tokyo, but it has yet to make it into Europe.

Reilly says: “We certainly have an intention to develop a much more significant international presence with a more significant presence outside the US. Helsinki is the first European office, and there are other discussions in the pipeline.”

He says that the plan is to increase the New York office to around 200 lawyers to make its size consistent with the importance of that economy. The office’s clients already include Harris Corporation, American Airlines, Air France and Singapore Airlines.