Bryan Cave breaks off from Squire Sanders merger talks

The proposed merger between Bryan Cave and Squire Sanders & Dempsey has collapsed after the two firms failed to reach agreement over the structure of the tie-up.

Partners were informed of the news last night (31 July) after more than six months of discussions between the firms. The Lawyer understands that one of the reasons was a lack of “genuine enthusiasm” among partners for the merger, as well as concerns on both sides over cost.

The merger would have been one of the few law firm tie-ups where both sides were of of a similar size and profitabilty. Last year Squire Sanders made $410m (£220m) in turnover with average profits per equity partner (PEP) at $625,000 (£335,000), while Bryan Cave brought in $398.5m (£214m) with PEP of $615,000 (£330,000).

Both firms have international offices including London.

Squire Sanders recently bolstered its European presence when it merged with the London and Frankfurt offices of the collapsed German firm Haarmann Hemmelrath. That followed a September 2005 merger with Miami-based Steel Hector & Davis, which gave the firm a strong presence in Latin America.

Partners were expecting to vote on the merger proposals by the end of July.

It is unclear whether or not either side will now start the search for a new merger partner.

Charles Attlee, Bryan Cave’s London managing partner, declined to comment. Squire Sanders & Dempsey’s London managing partner Mara Babin could not be reached for comment.