Merger of US firms paves way for 'largest' health law practice

TOP 30 US law firm Foley & Lardner and Californian practice Weissburg & Aronson have merged to create one of the largest firms in the US.

Foley & Lardner, one of the oldest firms in the US, was ranked 27th by International Financial Law Review magazine in its 1995 listing of the top 30 firms in the US.

With Weissburg & Aronson's recognised strength in health care, the merger is claimed by the newly formed firm to create the nation's largest health care law practice and it will rank as 15th largest in the US.

The combined firm will be known as Foley & Lardner and Foley Lardner Weissburg & Aronson in California.

The merger, effective from the beginning of this month, will strengthen Foley & Lardner's presence in California and is seen by the partners of both firms as building on existing expertise.

Carl Weissburg, one of the founding partners of Weissburg & Aronson, said: “The merger will afford us the opportunity to increase the use of our expertise…while enlarging the health law practice of the whole firm.”

Michael Grebe, chair and chief executive of Foley & Lardner said: “The western US and the Pacific Rim are important markets for our clients, who will now have full access to the firm's depth in intellectual property, biotechnology, international, securities, bankruptcy and other specialities.”

Rumour of the proposed merger was greeted with “raised eyebrows” by management consultants in the US, according to an article in the December 1995 issue of The American Lawyer. It was seen as particularly surprising in the light of a number of failed attempts by out-of-state firms to gain a foothold in California.