Our favourite stateside rumour last week featured the merger of not two, but three US top 100 firms. The first won’t surprise anybody: Heller Ehrman. As one of the few firms to show falls in revenue and profit last year, it has been at the centre of merger rumours for months. The continuing drip of exiting partners (last week saw another former New York managing partner, Richard Martin, bail out in favour of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe) is doing nothing to stem the feeling in the market that Heller is a firm in need of a deal.
Heller’s first marriage partner is rumoured to be Winston & Strawn, another pleasant, but less-than-thrilling, outfit that could use a jolt of electricity.
But it’s the third leg of this legal stool that has got people here buzzing: Proskauer Rose. Were Proskauer to join the party, the US legal market would be looking at a new $1.8bn (£905m) mega-firm.
Word is, this deal is too big to digest. But the fact the market gives it credence underlines the extent to which firms are now looking at their options. More consolidation this year is a cert.