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‘Greater than the sum of its parts’: Hunton & Williams and Andrews Kurth agree merger

US players Hunton & Williams and Andrews Kurth Kenyon have given the green light to a merger that will create a 1,000 lawyer firm with 15 American offices.

Announced yesterday (21 Feb) the partnerships of both firms have approved the combination, with the merged entity Hunton Andrews Kurth coming into operation on 2 April.

It is a logical union for two firms boasting enviable energy practices, although the new firm will also have strengths in capital markets, financial services and commercial litigation.

Hunton Andrews Kurth will comprise 300 lawyers across four Texas offices, 200 lawyers in Richmond and 150 lawyers each in New York and Washington. Both New York firm Hunton & Williams and Texas-based Andrews Kurth Kenyon have London offices, consisting of eight and five partners respectively.

According to figures from The American Lawyer, the merger will create a firm with revenues clearing $750m. Based on last year’s Global 100 survey conducted by Legal Business, that revenue figure would place Hunton Andrews Kurth at 54 in the ranking, ahead of Slaughter and May.

Hunton & Williams has the edge over Andrews Kurth in terms of financial muscle and headcount, posting 2016/17 revenues of $541m and possessing 661 lawyers. Revenue for 2016/17 at Andrews Kurth fell considerably shy of that figure at $289m with lawyer headcount also lower at 327.

Hunton & Williams’ managing partner Wally Martinez said the new firm would be a ‘powerhouse’ in Texas and highlighted how the firms’ practices complimented each other.

Robert Jewell, managing partner of Andrews Kurth Kenyon added: ‘Hunton Andrews Kurth brings together the history, reputation, experience and resources of the legacy firms to create a law firm that is greater than the sum of its parts.’

Martinez will act as managing partner of the merged firm with Jewell serving as managing partner emeritus. The executive committee of the combined outfit will consist of five Andrews Kurth Kenyon partners and nine Hunton & Williams partners.

The combination marks the first major merger between two US firms for over a year. Litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan confirmed it was in merger talks with Washington DC disputes shop Williams & Connolly last summer, but a deal failed to materialise.

The last significant US-only tie-up was between Kaye Scholer and Arnold & Porter, announced in November 2016. The new $1bn firm was originally named Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, but has since dropped Kaye Scholer from the branding.