The merger between Lovells and US firm Hogan & Hartson looks almost certain to go ahead after the two firms’ management teams unanimously backed the union.
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.