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Holland & Knight Seals Merger With Thompson & Knight, Keeps Name

Aug. 2, 2021, 2:53 PM

Law firms Holland & Knight and Thompson & Knight have completed their much-anticipated merger, the firms announced on Monday, creating one of the largest firms in the U.S.

The new firm, which will operate under the Holland & Knight name, will be led by current Holland & Knight managing partner Steven Sonberg. Thompson & Knight’s managing partner, Mark Sloan, will serve as a vice chair of the practice and operations committee, which is the firm’s senior management group.

The newly combined firm will have approximately 1,600 lawyers across 30 offices. The new Holland & Knight also becomes one of the largest law firms in Texas, with more than 300 lawyers in the state across its Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston offices.

Merger talks between the two firms were first announced back in April and marked one of the most substantial law firm tie-ups since the coronavirus pandemic last year dramatically slowed merger activity among law firms.

“Our firms are enthusiastic to join forces. The expanded industry and practice resources represent meaningful additions that will benefit our clients,” Sonberg said in a statement.

“Both firms also focus on what will make us more competitive in the marketplace, including fostering a team-oriented culture and prioritizing responsiveness, innovation and agility when providing client counsel,” he said.

Dallas-based Thompson & Knight was the smaller of the two firms, with roughly 300 lawyers across nine offices. It was known for its work in oil and gas focused private equity and M&A, as well as other areas like real estate.

Holland & Knight was founded in Florida and had roughly 1,300 lawyers across 27 offices, with strengths in litigation, government, real estate, and Latin American corporate and securities practice.

“With this strategic combination, Thompson & Knight gains a larger geographical footprint, deeper resources and a broader network that will enable us to expand services provided to our clients,” Sloan said in the statement.

“Our firms’ complementary practice and industry strengths, shared collaborative culture and focus on providing exceptional service will help us to deliver even greater value to our clients in the U.S., Latin America and around the world,” he said, noting that the combination “will accelerate our growth and lead to long-term, sustained success.”

Prior to the completion of the merger on Monday, Thompson & Knight had seen a series of partner departures since the tie-up was announced.

O’Melveny & Myers picked up four lawyers from Thompson & Knight to launch its office in Austin, including the head of the office, Philip Oldham, as well as Katie Coleman, who was firmwide head of Thompson & Knight’s government and regulatory practice.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld added Wesley Williams, former leader of Thompson & Knight’s corporate and securities practice, and Jessica Hammons in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas as well as corporate partners Jesse Betts and Cole Bredthauer, who served as leader of Thompson & Knight’s Fort Worth office.

Sidley Austin, Baker Botts, and Winston & Strawn also picked up several Thompson & Knight partners.

The Holland & Knight and Thompson & Knight merger marks the culmination of one of the largest announced firm combinations in 2021, which has seen a bounce back in merger activity following uncertain times in 2020 that halted some firms’ plans to combine.

According to data from Fairfax Associates, which tracks law firm mergers based on effective date of tie-up, there were 25 completed mergers in the first half of 2021, but there have also been a flurry of merger announcements, expected to be completed in the second half of the year.

St. Louis-based Thompson Coburn said it would acquire the 44-lawyer New York-based financial and litigation firm Hahn & Hessen, and Crowell & Moring said it would acquire 60-lawyer Chicago intellectual property firm Brinks Gilson & Lione in its largest acquisition in firm history.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Tom P. Taylor at ttaylor@bloomberglaw.com