Washington’s Patton Boggs in merger talks with Locke Lord

Washington DC firm Patton Boggs is understood to be in merger talks with US firm Locke Lord.

The news comes days after San Francisco-based Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe confirmed it had begun merger talks with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, a tie-up that would create a $1.4bn US firm with two offices in London (28 October 2013).

According to Reuters, which first reported on the discussions, Patton Boggs is also in merger talks with firms outside the US. If the talks are successful it would give Patton Boggs access to Locke Lord’s London office, which was launched in 2012 (7 November 2011).

The Washington firm has a presence in Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai and took on Dewey & LeBoeuf’s Riyadh practice to set up an affiliate base in the region last year (14 June 2012).

A merger would give Dallas-based Locke Lord, which specialises in energy, insurance and insolvency, access to the firm’s offices in the Middle East, while Patton Boggs could benefit from the firm’s outpost in London. A spokesperson from the London base said this morning that the firm “never confirms or denies” potential lateral hires or mergers.

In a statement the firm said: “In line with our strategic plan, we regularly look at growth opportunities that would benefit our firm and our clients, but we do not comment one way or the other.”

Patton Boggs has had a difficult year, facing a multi-million dollar legal battle with oil giant Chevron and announcing 65 layoffs across the firm’s US offices in March. It is not known if a merger had been on the firm’s agenda for some time.

The firm was not available to comment.