2013 set to be a big year for law firm mergers

May 23, 2013 The U.S. legal industry is set to see more law firm mergers in 2013 than in 2012 or 2011, if the first quarter numbers are anything to go by.

According to a report by legal consultancy Altman Weil, 21 mergers were announced in the first quarter of 2013, up from 14 announced in the first quarter of 2012, and 16 announced in the same period in 2011. In both 2011 and 2012 there were 60 law firm mergers by the end of the year.

"Unless something unforeseen happens, we'll be ahead this year," says Ward Bower, a principal at Altman Weil.

The mergers in this batch are mostly coming from midsize firms taking on smaller shops with fewer than 25 attorneys. And Bower says that the tie-ups are from firms striving to become truly national: "Generally speaking, these are larger firms looking to fill a practice niche or establish in a new geographic location."

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