Law firm mergers are heating up says Altman Weil

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The combination of law firms in the United States is gathering pace with more announced in 2018 than in any year since 2007.

The latest Altman Weil MergerLine figures show that 106 combinations were announced last year. The largest was the cross-border merger of 900-lawyer US law firm, Bryan Cave and 666-lawyer UK firm Berwin Leighton Paisner.

“Law firms in every segment of the market are interested in merger right now," says Altman Weil principal Tom Clay. "The largest firms are making aggressive national and international moves; mid-sized firms are bulking up regionally; and dozens of small firms are pairing up to fortify themselves in local markets. Almost everybody is a potential acquirer or an acquisition target in 2019 – we have never seen so many law firms in play."

Among other international deals were the merger of K&L Gates with Singapore’s Straits Law which completed this week.

Eight of the fourteen international combinations were executed by global law firm Dentons which added over 200 lawyers to its 8,100-lawyer headcount through acquisitions of law firms in Indonesia, Kenya, Chile, Malaysia, Barbados, Mauritius and the Cayman Islands. This follows Dentons' seven international acquisitions in 2017.

"There are a number of drivers of merger activity," Clay explains. "Large and mid-sized firms are seeking additional market share through acquisitions that bring new, high-quality clients to the firm, add or enhance a practice specialty, or give them position or depth in a high-potential geographic market. Small firms are more likely to be acting

defensively, based on concerns about long-term sustainability, a recognition of the need for greater investment capital, or as a succession strategy."

New global finance & projects leader for Linklaters
Linklaters has appointed Paul Lewis as global head of finance & projects.

He will sit on the firm’s Executive Committee and will begin his 4-year term on 1st May 2019 succeeding Michael Kent who will return full time to the Financial Regulation practice.

Lewis is currently global co-head of innovation and UK head of Derivatives and Structured Products; and has been with the firm since 2006.

Linklaters’ firmwide managing partner Gideon Moore thanked Michael Kent for his dedication to the role over the past four years and welcomed the appoint of Paul Lewis.

“He’s been at the forefront of developing new products and innovative solutions, constantly challenging our way of thinking to ensure that the firm’s vision is fully realised; he will make an excellent Divisional Head,” he said.

Experienced lawyer joins HSF in Singapore
Amanda Teoh has joined Herbert Smith Freehills as senior associate in the asset finance team in Singapore.

Teoh joins from Clifford Chance having previously trained with King & Wood Mallesons in Sydney and completed a two-year judicial associateship with the President of the NSW Court of Appeal.

She is a graduate of the University of New South Wales and was admitted as a solicitor of the NSW Supreme Court Australia in 2011, as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in 2015 and as a solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales in 2018.

Keoh has experience in the aviation finance sector and specialises in aircraft financing, leasing and restructuring transactions.

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