Freebies needs to address profitability concerns from the get-go

By the time you read this the Herbert Smith Freehills merger will be live – a firm with revenues of over $1.3bn and more than 2,300 lawyers.

After a difficult few years for Herbert Smith, will the merger be the right medicine for the firm? Well, it’s not a cure-all but it’s a good start.

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Positive early signs at combined firm King & Wood Mallesons

King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has enjoyed a successful first six months as a single firm, according to Handel Lee, head of the firm’s East China offices, who added that Africa could be the next destination for the firm en route to London and New York.

The firm, which went live in March, topped mergermarket’s Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) M&A league tables for volume for the first half of 2012, placing it ahead of Baker & McKenzie, Freehills and Clifford Chance in the table. The firm did 35 deals worth a total of $9.2bn.

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Tough decisions needed for LG/FFW

Tough decisions needed for LG/FFW

Ahead of our LB100 report next month, one merger is on the table that requires some hard choices now to be a future success.

Lawrence Graham (LG) has confirmed it is ‘evaluating a merger’ with City rival Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW). The deal would put the new firm comfortably in the top 25 of the LB100 with an expected turnover of over £150m. Continue reading “Tough decisions needed for LG/FFW”

Shakespeares and Harvey Ingram announce merger

Acquisitive Birmingham firm Shakespeares has continued its explosive growth of the last few years by announcing that it is set to combine with Leicester-based stalwart Harvey Ingram on 1 August 2012.

At press time both firms were expected to vote overwhelmingly in favour of a union in a partners’ ballot at each firm at the end of June, according to Shakespeares’ commercial director Hamish Munro.

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The glue that binds

The glue that binds

As the Swiss Verein legal structure becomes increasingly popular among global law firms, the debate hots up over whether its use is a true representation of global expansion. But what is a Verein and who does it benefit?

The Swiss Verein is all the rage. Law firms have turned to the legal structure to help co-ordinate large international mergers, modelling their expansive structures after the Big Four accounting firms: KPMG, PwC, Deloitte and Ernst & Young. With the appetite for mergers continuing unabated in 2012, as seen recently with the March collaboration of King & Wood Mallesons, the Verein seems to be the structure of choice for law firms.

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Pinsents and McGrigors tie-up gets rubber-stamped

Pinsent Masons and McGrigors confirmed in early February that partners had voted in favour of the two firms merging. The new firm will operate from 1 May as one unified partnership under the Pinsent Masons brand.

Management says that the combination will likely see the creation of a near £300m, 1,500 lawyer business spanning 15 offices, seven of which are outside of the UK.

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Mergers – Answers on a postcard

Mergers – Answers on a postcard

Despite much hype over mid-market consolidation recently, the number of mergers between law firms in the UK has been modest. LB discovers why not every struggling firm is looking for a tie-up

If you were to slap an ‘at risk’ sign on any segment of firms in the LB100 then it would have to go somewhere on that diverse group of City firms that pull in between £20m and £70m in turnover. The list of threats to their businesses is growing. From pricing pressures in a crowded market to a lack of differentiation and a stagnant transactional market, there is much to think about. ‘If you’re not growing turnover now, you’re not going anywhere nice,’ one commentator suggests.


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Merger values

Merger values

The latest transatlantic mergers have a few examples to follow. But just what have City mergers delivered for Jones Day, K&L Gates, Mayer Brown and Reed Smith?

It’s easy to forget that the transatlantic merger is not a trend confined to the last two years. The most effective way for US firms to enter the highly competitive London market has long been a matter for debate. Do you buy a greenfield site and take a long view based around organic growth or do you acquire a large, ready-made UK business? Neither is simple and both can be costly.

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Firm mechanics

Firm mechanics

Eight years after its formative merger, Taylor Wessing remains divided. With a new strategy and rebrand in the offing, has the firm finally laid its integration demons to rest, or is it just a new logo and a different shade of green?

Modern law firms are complex machines. In a perfect, well-managed example, the inner workings click and whirr in seamless industry. At Taylor Wessing, the parts haven’t been put together properly. The engine needs some work.

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