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Worst-kept secret: Locke Lord and Edwards Wildman approve combination

Dallas-bred Locke Lord and Boston’s Edwards Wildman Palmer have rubber-stamped their high-profile union, today (1 December) announcing that their respective partnerships have approved a combination from 10 January 2015, a move which will generate gross revenues of $675m and a headcount of 1,000 lawyers.

Set to be named Locke Lord Edwards, Locke Lord’s Jerry Clements will serve as chair of the combined firm, while Edwards Wildman’s current managing partner Alan Levin will serve as vice chair, alongside Locke Lord’s Dan Schlessinger and Bill Swanstrom.

Other members of its executive committee will include Nick DiGiovanni, Michael Gaertner, Janis Loegering, Graham Spitz, David Taylor and Tom Yoxall from Locke Lord. Jeffrey Hsi, Walter Onge, Heather Stone, George Ticknor and Jonathan Young from Edwards Wildman will also make up the executive team.

The merger will give the firms additional presence in Asia with offices in Hong Kong, Istanbul and Tokyo. In a statement, the firms said London will continue to be an important focus of the combined firm and ‘one with anticipated growth as a gateway to international business’.

Clements added: ‘This combination will enhance our position in the top tier of US law firms and significantly strengthen our position and product offerings in the middle market. 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.’

Both firms confirmed in October they had signed a letter of intent to merge early next year. It is understood that the official vote was a ‘done deal’ and the voting process was a ‘mere formality’ according to one partner.

It comes as Edwards Wildman faced a series of partner defections in recent months. It is still unclear whether any of the Edwards Wildman London-based partnership will become part of the deal, as a host of staff led by commercial litigation partner Laurence Harris remain in long-drawn out negotiations with fellow US firm Cooley for its potential London launch.