US firms Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe are in talks regarding a potential merger.
A spokesperson for Akin Gump confirmed that both firms are in preliminary discussions but neither firm is providing specific details on the talks.
A spokesman for Orrick said: “Orrick and Akin Gump have held preliminary discussions about the possibility of a merger. At this time, it is premature and inappropriate to speak publicly in any detail about the process.”
For Orrick this is the latest in a series of merger talks held over the last three years, with chairman Ralph Baxter keen to secure a deal. Most recently, the firm pulled out of discussions with SJ Berwin earlier this year (4 May 2010).
In 2007 the firm was in advanced talks with Dewey Ballantine, but the tie-up was abandoned due to disagreements over management and governance issues (9 January 2007).
In 2008 the firm secured a merger with German firm Hölters & Elsing following nine months of negotiations (22 September 2008).
If the latest talks are successful the combined firm would have more than 1,800 lawyers and a total revenue of around $1.5bn (£950m).
While a merger between two high-profile US firms has not been seen in recent times, the news comes following a series of transatlantic mergers this year, with the tie-up between US firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal and the UK’s Denton Wilde Sapte due to go live tomorrow (9 June 2010).