Dentons Weighs Patton Boggs Combination: Business of Law

Dentons, a 2,600-lawyer international firm formed a year ago through the combination of Salans LLP, Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP and SNR Denton, is interested in expanding further through a combination with Patton Boggs LLP.

Patton Boggs, a Washington law and lobbying firm, has been struggling financially and has held merger talks, most recently with Squire Sanders LLP.

“We can confirm that Dentons has made a serious overture to Patton Boggs leadership about a combination to form a new firm together,” Dentons said in an e-mailed statement. “We hold Patton Boggs and its lawyers and professionals in high regard, and our interest in conversations between our firms and partners remains high.”

Patton Boggs didn’t respond to requests for comment on the Dentons offer.

Dentons hasn’t shied away from expanding in its first year, opening offices in Houston and Astana, Kazakhstan. The firm said it hired more than 100 professionals from other firms, including 46 lawyers from Canada’s Heenan Blaikie LLP, which voted to dissolve earlier this year. Dentons announced at the end of last year that merger talks with McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP were called off.

Patton Boggs, with about 370 lawyers, is known for its lobbying practice. Squire Sanders is a 1,300-lawyer firm with broad international reach. They announced their merger discussions in a joint statement in February.

Patton Boggs announced in December that merger talks were called off with Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP.

The firm said last month that it would lose about two dozen partners through firings and lateral departures. In February, Patton Boggs said it would close its Newark, New Jersey, office. The firm had two rounds of job cuts last year affecting at least 32 lawyers.

News

Law Firm Combinations Continue at Record Pace So Far This Year

Law firm mergers and acquisitions continued at a record pace in the first quarter, according to legal consultants Altman Weil. There have been 22 this year, compared with 21 in the first quarter of 2013.

“Deal volume remains high, but the majority of those deals are acquisitions of very small law firms,” Altman Weil principal Ward Bower said in a statement.

Eighteen of the 22 law firm combinations, or 82 percent, were acquisitions of firms with 15 or fewer lawyers.

For a complete Altman Weil list of law firm mergers and acquisitions, click here.

Deals

Skadden in Top Deal Spot With $139 Billion for First Quarter

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP tops the global mergers and acquisitions legal advisory rankings by deal value, according to preliminary first-quarter data compiled by Bloomberg News.

Ranked 17th a year ago, the firm has advised on $139 billion in deals so far in 2014.

In second place is Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, up from 24th in the first quarter of 2013. Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP fell to fourth from first. Jones Day leads the tables by deal count with 107.

For more, click here.

Firm News

Eversheds Partner Opens Third German Office in Berlin

Eversheds LLP’s German affiliate Heisse Kursawe Eversheds, is opening a Berlin office, its third location in Germany.

The new office will be headed by employment partner Stefan Kursawe.

“Berlin has become an obligatory location for commercial law firms and we have opened the office due to real client demand,” Kursawe said in a statement.

The firms are discussing the possibility of a full merger, Eversheds Chief Executive Officer Bryan Hughes said in the statement.

McGuireWoods Opens Office in Dallas With Patton Boggs Partners

McGuireWoods LLP is opening an office in Dallas, its third in Texas, with the hiring of six Patton Boggs LLP partners.

The partners are Jon Finger, Akash Sethi, J. Kevin Boardman, David McLean, Darren W. Collins and Robert C. Hilton.

McGuireWoods said in a statement that additional lawyers will be joining the office, which Managing Partner Tom Cabaniss said he expects will grow rapidly.

McLean, Boardman, Sethi and Finger joined McGuireWoods’s private-equity teams. Collins and Hilton concentrate their practices on intellectual property.

Patton Boggs said in a statement last week that the departures “do not impact our strategic plan and are not material to the firm.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Amon in New York at eamon2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net Charles Carter, Stephen Farr

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