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Wake Up Call: Two Mergers Possible as Four Firms Mull Deals

Nov. 14, 2019, 1:12 PM
  • Regional law firms Troutman Sanders, based in Atlanta, and Philadelphia-founded Pepper Hamilton said they are discussing a possible merger. If it happens, the combination could create a top 50 U.S. firm, with gross revenues topping $855 million, with over 1,000 lawyers and over 20 offices. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Meanwhile, tie-up talks between Minneapolis-based Faegre Baker Daniels and Philadelphia-based Drinker Biddle could produce a firm with a similar head-count. In their case, the combined firm would have about 1,200 lawyers across 22 offices, of which 400-plus would be equity partners, according to a report. (American Lawyer)

  • Women mainly leave law firms because they don’t get paid or promoted as much as male lawyers do, and because they don’t get credit for their work, a new American Bar Association study shows. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Lateral partner moves often seem to be fueled by money, but three new hires to a Cleveland-based AMLaw 200 firm said they were at least partly motivated by the firm’s innovative program for boosting pricing transparency. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Cadwalader and Proskauer Rose yesterday became the latest firms to reveal their year-end bonuses for associates, matching the scale announced by Milbank last week (BLAW via BLB)

  • London-headquartered Ashurst is hooking up with alternative legal services provider UnitedLex on a new service aimed at German investigations. The collaboration, which will offer tech-focused solutions for compliance, discovery, and investigation management services, is Ashurst’s third this month with an alternative legal provider. (Legaltech News)

  • As the House started public hearings yesterday in its investigation of whether President Trump’s dealings in Ukraine merit his impeachment, Trump said for the second time this week that he’ll go to the U.S. Supreme Court to appeal court rulings threatening to expose his tax records. (BN via BLAW)

Lawyers, Law Firms, Deals

  • A handful of Big Law firms and several smaller ones are participating in a new national platform that aims to hook up non-profit organizations with pro bono construction lawyers able to advise them on their building projects. The platform, Building for Good, grew out of the American Bar Association’s construction law forum. So far it’s operating in Massachusetts, Florida, Minnesota, and New Jersey and lists 27 participating law firms. (

  • Proskauer Rose client the Public Interest Registry, the organization that manages the .ORG top-level internet domain favored by non-profits, said it will be acquired by Ethos Capital, a private equity firm that was advised by Morrison & Foerster. The Internet Society, which started the Public Interest Registry in 2002, was the seller and was advised by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. No terms were announced for the deal, which has raised a few eyebrows in the domain name industry. ( (The Verge) (

  • Covington & Burling advised Merck on its acquisition of Calporta Therapeutics, a venture-backed startup that is developing possible treatments for so-called lysosomal storage disorders and for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Calporta was created as part of a collaboration between San Diego investment firm Avalon Ventures and GlaxoSmithKline. To acquire it, Merck agreed to pay up to $576 million. (BioSpace) (

  • Morrison & Foerster advised cloud-computing services company Mirantis, Inc. on its acquisition of the Docker Enterprise container platform used to build, share, and run cloud-based applications. Docker, Inc. is the seller in the transaction, for which no terms were disclosed. (Mirantis) (TechCrunch)

  • McDermott Will & Emery and accounting firm Grant Thornton are hosting an international restructuring conference today in New York. (

  • Chicago-based law firm Goldberg Kohn launched a new program aimed at providing mentorship and career support for its “diverse” lawyers. (

Laterals, Moves, In-house, Promotions

  • San Francisco-based litigation fund start-up Legalist said it hired Duane Morris litigator Heather Zacharia as investment counsel. Zacharia posted the move on her LinkedIn profile, which said she advises on employment and benefits and insurance coverage and bad faith litigation. (LinkedIn)

  • Polsinelli hired four female patent attorneys to launch a Seattle intellectual property team as part of a nationwide push to build its IP practice. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough hired real estate attorney Anitra D. Androh as a partner in its Washington office. She joins from Miles & Stockbridge, where she was a principal. (

  • Delaware-based Potter Anderson added corporate and commercial litigator Kate Mahoney as an associate in Wilmington. She arrives from Gordon, Fournaris & Mammarella and was previously at Pepper Hamilton. (

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • A California insurance executive was sentenced to six months in jail for paying $450,000 in bribes to get his two kids into the University of Southern California, trying to pass his 5-foot-5-inch son as a 6-foot-1 basketball recruit and that his daughter was a top-flight soccer player. (BN via BLAW)

  • The class representative in a securities settlement over the merger of BankAmerica Corp. and NationsBank waited too long to challenge the $59 million attorneys’ fee award, a federal court ruled. (BLAW)

Legal Education

  • The California Bar inadvertently released bar exam topics earlier this year and failed to consult with the state supreme court prior to disclosing them to all test takers, an outside investigation concluded. (BLAW via BLB)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Darren Bowman at

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