(Adds Patton Boggs statement)
By Casey Sullivan
Oct 27 Washington law firm Patton Boggs, well
known for its lobbying and public policy work, is in talks to
merge with a larger U.S. law firm, according to two former
partners and a person with inside knowledge of the deal.
The news comes on the heels of a report by Reuters on Friday
that Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw
Pittman were in advanced merger discussions to create what would
be one of the top 10 largest law firms in the country.
Two former Patton Boggs partners told Reuters the Washington
firm, with nearly 500 lawyers and public policy advisers, is in
merger discussions with Locke Lord of Dallas, which has more
than 650 lawyers and consultants. A third source, who has direct
knowledge of the matter, would not confirm or deny that the
other party was Locke Lord.
Patton Boggs said in a statement on Sunday that all law
firms that recognize the rapidly changing landscape should be
looking for ways to improve their platform for their partners
and to better serve their clients.
"If we find a combination that accomplishes these goals, we
would have an announcement if and when we pursue it," it said.
Locke Lord said on Sunday it "never affirms or denies any
speculation about...potential mergers."
"In line with our strategic plan, we regularly look at
growth opportunities that would benefit our firm and our
clients, but we do not comment one way or the other," a
statement from the firm said.
The partners, who left Patton Boggs earlier this year, said
they had knowledge of the merger discussions from lawyers inside
the firm. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were
not authorized to speak publicly about the issue.
Separately, Patton Boggs is also in merger talks with a law
firm outside the United States, the partners said, although they
had not been told its identity.
The 51-year-old Patton Boggs is known historically for its
influence on Capitol Hill and has represented a number of large
companies and institutions this year like AT&T,
Goldman Sachs and Amazon.com Inc in their
lobbying efforts, according to OpenSecrets.org, which publishes
information on lobbying.
Locke Lord, which is known for its energy, litigation and
insurance practices, has recently represented companies such as
Natural Gas Partners, Argent Energy and White Deer
Energy, in acquisitions and financing arrangements, according to
Both firms have represented parties in litigation arising
from the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
In March, Patton Boggs announced it had laid off 30 lawyers
and 35 staff members and that revenue had dipped 15 percent in
its 2012 financials, according to the legal trade publication
There have been at least 58 mergers between U.S. law firms
announced in 2013, a particularly active year, according to
legal consultancy Altman Weil. In the first half of the year
activity was its highest since 2008, Altman reported.
Merger activity has been driven by the globalization of
corporate clients who face complex national and international
legal issues and by sluggish demand for legal services, experts
Patton Boggs ranked No. 95 out of U.S. law firms for revenue
in 2012 at $317,500,000 and No. 91 in profits per partner at
$735,000, according to figures published in the American Lawyer.
Locke Lord ranked No. 69 for revenue in 2012 at $428,500,000 and
No. 65 in profits per partner at $1,065,000, according to the
A managing partner of another large U.S. law firm said that
his firm had been approached by Patton Boggs earlier this year
about a potential combination, but that the firm turned the
(Reporting by Casey Sullivan; Editing by Noeleen Walder, Ted
Botha, David Brunnstrom and Diane Craft)