Squire Patton Boggs is formed primarily of three legacy firms – US law firms Squire Sanders & Dempsey and Patton Boggs, and UK firm Hammonds – but in practice the centre of power remains very much in the US. Many of the firm’s offices are legacy Squire Sanders, as are current chair Mark Ruehlmann and global managing partner Fred Nance. Squire Sanders was founded in Cleveland, Ohio, and began internationalising in the 1970s when it opened in Brussels. It also
Squire Patton Boggs is formed primarily of three legacy firms – US law firms Squire Sanders & Dempsey and Patton Boggs, and UK firm Hammonds – but in practice the centre of power remains very much in the US. Many of the firm’s offices are legacy Squire Sanders, as are current chair Mark Ruehlmann and global managing partner Fred Nance.
Squire Sanders was founded in Cleveland, Ohio, and began internationalising in the 1970s when it opened in Brussels. It also expanded in the US in that decade. In 1990, it took advantage of the fall of the Iron Curtain to open in Prague, and continued launching in Eastern Europe with Budapest and Bratislava offices the following year.
The firm moved into more jurisdictions and cities throughout the 1990s and 2000s, opening in London in 1992. In 2000 it acquired the California, Tokyo and Beijing offices of US-Asian firm Graham & James after the latter saw its association with Hong Kong’s Deacons dissolve.
Meanwhile, legacy Hammonds was carrying out its own expansion. For over a century the firm was a relatively small Yorkshire practice headquartered in Bradford, but it opened in the City just a year before its future merger partner, then began expanding elsewhere in the UK and in Europe and Asia. However, the firm’s 2000 merger with Birmingham’s Edge Ellison was the beginning of a slow decline for Hammonds, which saw a wave of partner departures and falling profits in 2003 and 2004.
Managing partner Peter Crossley pulled the firm together, refocusing it strategically and overseeing recovering financials, but the market view was still that Hammonds was ripe for a US takeover.
During the 2000s, legacy Patton Boggs also started expanding, building on its history of oil and gas work to launch several Middle East bases.
In late 2010 Squire Sanders and Hammonds partners gave the go-ahead for the merger between the two. The Hammonds name was, for a while, maintained in the UK, Europe and Asia before being quietly dropped.
Later in 2011 Squire Sanders added 80 lawyers in Perth from Minter Ellison and used this as the jumping-off point for further expansion in Asia and Australia.
In 2013 Patton Boggs put itself on the merger market, talking to both Locke Lord and Dentons. But it was Squire Sanders, seeking a boost in Washington DC, which won Patton Boggs’ hand – and name – with the merger going live in 2014.
The enlarged firm has continued to grow, with the absorption of 50-lawyer California litigation boutique Carroll Burdick & McDonough in 2016.
The firm’s history is reflected in its geographical make-up. London and Washington DC are now its biggest offices, followed by Cleveland, while Leeds remains significant too. After all the mergers in recent years, turnover of $1bn is likely in the near future.
Legacy Squire Sanders partners have been the main names since the firms’ various mergers have taken place. The Hammonds merger was overseen by Jim Maiwurm as chair and global CEO of Squire Sanders & Dempsey.
Maiwurm stepped down in 2015 and was replaced by Cincinnati managing partner Mark Ruehlmann.
In 2016 Cleveland-based sports partner Fred Nance became global managing partner, replacing Steve Mahon. At the same time Crossley stepped down after 12 years in charge of Hammonds and then Squire Sanders’ European arm; he was replaced by legacy Hammonds partner Jane Haxby.