Merger activity signals growing confidence in US legal services market

January 15, 2012 There were 60 mergers between US law firms last year – an increase of 53 per cent – according to a new report by legal consulting firm Altman Weil. The growth in merger activity follows a sharp drop-off in 2009 and 2010.

There were 60 mergers in 2007, when the legal business still was booming, increasing to 70 in 2008, and declining sharply after that. The merger activity is being read by many as a sign of new confidence in the legal marketplace.

"We saw a dip during the recession," says Altman Weil principal Ward Bower. "Nobody was concentrating on strategy. Everyone was concentrating on survival. Now that we are out of the recession, and although it is not a strong recovery by any means, it has inspired a lot of confidence in a lot of firms who are looking to grow again."

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