Doubt over Frisco-NYC merger

A proposed merger between San Francisco firm Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe and Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine in New York is in doubt after objections from a mutual client.

The merger was supposed to be tied up two weeks ago. But a source said: 'A major client of both firms has objected to the merger because it wants to stop instructing Donovan Leisure and it has made this known to Orrick. They could still make progress but it looks very iffy.'

Michael Myers, a spokesman for Orrick said the firm did not comment on merger negotiations. Peter Coll Jnr, managing partner of Donovan Leisure, was unavailable for comment.

The combined firm would have over 500 lawyers making it one of the top 20 firms in the US. Orrick is strong in finance and securitisation but it is looking to bolster its litigation capability.

Last summer Donovan Leisure was identified as a good match with 65 litigators and a blue chip client profile.

Orrick recently began advertising for lawyers for a new London office. Myers said: 'Whether or not we do this merger, we remain committed and excited about moving into London.'