Mergers dominate mid-market

Consolidation in the US midmarket continued unabated after last month’s acquisition by Reed Smith of Chicago player Sachnoff & Weaver.

On 13 November Washington DC-based Crowell & Moring announced that it had acquired 20-lawyer litigation firm King Pagano Harrison (KPH) in a bid to continue a push into the New York market. At the same time Crowell took on three IP partners from IP boutique Morgan & Finnegan.

Those partners, plus the KPH tie-up, meant Crowell’s New York presence jumped to 15 lawyers. It only launched in New York in September this year, and that too was by luring a choice lateral. William McSherry, partnerin-charge of Arent Fox’s New York office, came on board to spearhead Crowell’s Manhattan effort.

Just a day after Crowell’s news, Philadelphia-headquartered Drinker Biddle & Reath and Chicago-based Gardner Carton & Douglas announced their intentions to wed.

The merger will create a top 70 firm with 677 lawyers spread across 12 US offices and an annual gross revenue of more than $350m (£184.5m).

Gardner had been looking for a merger partner for a while as it was suffering from a slow bleed of lawyer defections and an underwhelming financial performance