Market trend: consolidation

March 26, 2011 Interesting article here from ft.com, which notes that the merger between UK firm Hammonds with US firm Squire Sanders & Dempsey may represent a model for the survival of mid tier UK law firms struggling with a sharply reduced pool of commercial work following the financial crisis.

Firms are driven toward mergers in order to access fast growing markets at a time when business is slow at home, and to keep pace with their internationalized corporate clients. But it isn’t always plain sailing: significant client conflicts or clashes of firm culture can destabilize the process.

The article surveys recent consolidation in the industry, including the merger between UK firm Lovells and Washington-based Hogan & Hartson; the merger between UK law firm Denton Wilde Sapte and Chicago-based Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal; the merger between Leeds-based Hammonds and US firm Squire Sanders & Dempsey. Meanwhile, Norton Rose recently announced plans to join with Canadian law firm Ogilvy Renault and South African law firm Deneys Reitz; and DLA Piper announced an imminent merger with Australian firm DLA Phillips Fox.

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