Patton Boggs and Locke Lord third US pair to end merger talks in a month

Washington DC firm Patton Boggs and Texas-based Locke Lord are understood to have ended their merger talks, making them the third pair of US firms to kill plans for a tie-up in less than a month.

A merger between the two would have gifted Patton Boggs access to Locke Lord’s London office, which was launched in 2012 (7 November 2011). It would have also created one of the largest law firms in America.

According to Reuters, which first reported on the talks, the idea has now come to an end because Patton Boggs was concerned a merger would have seen it absorbed by the larger Locke Lord. Locke Lord is also said to have had reservations about the ongoing legal battle between Patton Boggs and oil giant Chevron.

2013 has been a difficult year for Patton Boggs, which has faced the multi-million dollar legal battle and announced 65 layoffs across its US offices in March. It is not known how long a merger had been on the firm’s agenda for.

The news comes less than a month after San Francisco-based Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman called off talks that would have created a $1.4bn giant with two bases in London (26 November 2013).

A day after Orrick and Pillsbury called off talks, Dentons and McKenna Long & Aldridge followed suit (27 November 2013). The merger would have added 575 lawyers to Dentons’ global presence and came only months after the firm’s tripartite integration between Canada’s Fraser Milner Casgrain, European firm Salans, and UK-US outfit SNR Denton.

According to legal consultancy Altman Weil there have been 58 combinations between US firms so far this year, compared to 60 across 2012 and 39 throughout 2011.

Locke Lord’s London office declined to comment on the move.