Pillsbury merger to salvage Shaw Pittman NY

Shaw Pittman’s anticipated merger with Pillsbury Winthrop could shore up the Washington DC firm’s ailing New York office after two of the firm’s New York partners left for Morgan Lewis & Bockius.

As first revealed on www.thelawyer.com (19 January), the tie-up would create a top 20 US firm with more than 1,000 lawyers and turnover in excess of $600m (£320m).

Shaw Pittman’s New York partners Akiba Stern and Ed Haren quit the firm last week for Morgan Lewis.

The Big Apple is well covered by the San Francisco-based Pillsbury Winthrop, itself a result of a 2000 merger between New York’s Win-throp Stimson Putnam & Roberts and San Francisco’s Pillsbury Madison & Sutro.

The firms share strengths in the technology market and Pillsbury would benefit from Shaw Pittman’s DC-based regulatory expertise.

A source in Shaw Pittman’s management team said that a merger was on the agenda and refused to deny that talks with Pillsbury had started.

Pillsbury’s chair Mary Cranston has often spoken of the firm’s desire to increase in size through merger, targeting a number of UK firms in addition to its US ambitions. Both firms have small teams in London.

The decline of Shaw Pittman’s New York office mirrors that of London, where the firm recently lost three partners and four associates to Morrison & Foerster, prompting it to promote two associates to the partnership to run the office. Pillsbury has two technology partners in the UK, including Jennifer Mattingly, who joined last year from Shaw Pittman.