Lovells, Hogan leaders give green light to tie-up

The firms are now ­forwarding documents ­containing the full details of the proposal to their ­respective partnerships, with votes scheduled for the middle of December. If the vote is ­successful the ­merger will complete by 1 May next year.

Lovells managing partner David Harris said the firm’s management had given its backing for the deal after recognising the “strong ­similarities” in the firms’ ­values.

Law firm leaders on both sides of the Atlantic are eagerly anticipating the merger, which is widely ­considered to have the potential to transform the legal landscape.

As one London-based consultant said: “At a stroke you’ll have a firm the size of Allen & Overy, better quality than DLA Piper, broader in scope than Herbert Smith and far more international than anything in the current UK mid-market.”

As reported by The Lawyer earlier this month (12 October), Lovells is ­proposing to abandon its lockstep, which has been modified over the past few years, to help push the merger through.
Lovells’ management can freeze or reverse the ­positions of underperforming partners on its current lockstep, although to date no provision has been made to reward exceptional ­performers.

As Hogan operates a purely merit-based system, it is understood that Lovells will promote the potential for adopting that system as a selling point of the merger.