Texas, Boston law firms to merge

Catherine Ho (c) 2014, The Washington Post. In yet another move toward consolidation in the legal industry, Dallas-based law firm Locke Lord and Boston-based Edwards Wildman Palmer announced plans this week to merge by early next year.

The union will form a 1,000-lawyer firm with 23 offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. The new firm, effective Jan. 10, will be called Locke Lord Edwards. Both firms have long been among the top 100 U.S.-based law firms by revenue, and the merger will push them into the top 50, with an expected combined revenue of $675 million.

Nineteen of the firm’s 23 offices will be in the United States, with the remaining four in Hong Kong, Istanbul, London and Tokyo.

The newly formed firm will be headed by Jerry Clements, one of the few female partners to lead a top law firm. Only about 4 percent of law firms have women in the top management position.

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The combination is one of 76 law-firm mergers and acquisitions announced so far this year — nearly double the mergers announced in 2010, according to legal consulting firm Altman Weil. Last year saw a record 88 law-firm mergers and acquisitions as firms large and small turned to consolidation as a way to show growth amid flat demand for legal services.

“This combination will enhance our position in the top tier of U.S. law firms and significantly strengthen our position and product offerings in the middle market,” Clements said in a statement. “It will allow us to brand that identity in the global marketplace with a major presence in the Northeast and a stronger footprint in the Midwest, West Coast and Southeast regions of the United States, as well as in Asia.”

Locke Lord had explored the possibility of combining with District of Columbia law and lobby giant Patton Boggs, but those talks ended and Patton was absorbed into Squire Sanders.