Morning Briefing: 29 US firms merged in the first quarter of 2015

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29 US firms merged in the first quarter of 2015
Twenty-nine law firms merged in the first quarter of this year, up from 23 a year earlier. The figures include three high-profile international deals; Dentons merging with Dacheng Law; DLA Piper acquiring Davis in Vancouver; and the Morgan Lewis & Bockius tie-up with Stamford Law in Singapore. Ward Bower from Altman Weil, which compiled the data, says that with the recession over more US firms are likely to look at cross-border deals.
UK law firms report strong year
Optimism in the legal profession in the UK is growing as firms report that they had a strong year in 2014. The Law Society’s Financial Management Survey shows that financial stability is increasing and since the same survey a year earlier a greater number of firms are operating profitably. One in six firms say that they expect to seek external investment for expansion and the same number intend to seek a non-lawyer owner such as an IT or HR professional. A third of practices say they are likely to merge with another firm in the next two to three years.
Online law school gets official recognition
A law school in the US has been granted permission by the American Bar Association to create a hybrid online program for students. Online law schools have been around for more than two decades but the ABA has refused to recognise them. The William Mitchell College of Law will be the first course to receive official approval and may open the doors to more online courses being approved. Business schools already widely offer online courses and CNBC reports that this could be viewed as the legal profession catching up. Greg Duhl, the online program’s director said: "With the decline of lawyers and law students, we were looking for new avenues to attract students.”
Judge rules that divorce over Facebook is ok
A New York City woman has been told that she can serve divorce papers on her husband on Facebook as it’s the only place she can find him. New York Daily News reports that Manhattan Supreme Court justice Matthew Cooper that the plaintiff, Ellanora Baidoo “granted permission to serve defendant divorce summons using a private message through Facebook.” The permission allows for the summons to be sent for three consecutive weeks or until the defendant responds.