Duane Morris targets London merger

Chairman Sheldon Bonovitz told The Lawyer the firm is keen to bolster its London practice through a merger or acquisition, following the success of its takeover of San Francisco’s Hancock Rothert & Bunshoft last week.

Bonovitz said the strategy was to fill out its existing footprint of 17 offices, including the UK, through bolt-ons or mergers, but the firm was not in advanced discussions with any UK firms at this stage.

The revelation follows a wave of US firms visiting London over the summer to discuss transatlantic mergers with mid-sized law firms. These include Cooley Godward, Goodwin Procter and Nixon Peabody.

Duane Morris’s merger with Hancock, which will be effective from 1 January 2006, will see the addition of more than 60 lawyers to its San Francisco office, bolstering the firm’s local team to 90 lawyers.

It will also see the AmLaw 100 firm take on Hancock’s Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe offices.

At the same time, the Los Angeles office has been bolstered by the hire of corporate partner Russell Roten and four associates from Coudert Brothers.

The combined firm will have more than 600 lawyers in 19 offices and is projected to generate a revenue approaching $350m (£200m) in 2006.