K&L Gates Merger With Kennedy Covington Second Largest In Third Quarter

Saturday, November 1, 2008 - 01:00

According to Hildebrandt International, leading consultants to the legal industry, law firm merger activity is keeping pace with last year. There were 13 completed law firm mergers and acquisitions involving U.S. law firms in the third quarter, bringing the total for the year to 49. This compares to 47 mergers completed in the first three quarters of 2007.

The largest U.S. merger in the third quarter was Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe's combination with Holters & Elsing in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The second largest merger was between K&L Gates and Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman in Charlotte, NC. The average size of the smaller firm in all 13 combinations was higher than in the prior year, with the average size of the firms acquired in the first three quarters of 2008 at 45, compared to 39 for the first three quarters of 2007.

Domestically, the southeastern U.S. was the top destination for mergers in the third quarter of 2008, with five mergers in Atlanta, Memphis, Mobile (AL), Charlotte (NC) and Greenville (SC). There were also two Midwest mergers: one in Cleveland and one in Chicago. The Orrick merger in Germany was the only cross-border merger.

Globally, there were a total of 80 completed international mergers, of which 18 were cross-border, through the third quarter. Twenty-two of these occurred in the third quarter. UK firms completed six mergers in the third quarter. Next were Australia, Canada, and Ireland, with two mergers each. Including the cross-border merger involving a U.S.-based law firm, there were a total of five cross-border mergers completed in the quarter.

K&L Gates welcomed Mary Schaerdel Dietz and Roderick (Rick) B. Williams as partners in the firm's Austin office. Ms. Dietz, a member of the commercial litigation practice, joined the firm K&L Gates from Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P., while Mr. Williams joined the firm's intellectual property litigation practice from Vinson & Elkins L.L.P.

A former director of the Austin Bar Association and the current president of the American Board of Trial Advocates' Austin chapter, Ms. Dietz focuses her practice on commercial and business litigation, including contract, construction and administrative law, Deceptive Trade Practices Act matters, records management solutions, e-discovery matters and white collar crime investigations.

An experienced litigator, Mr. Williams has represented clients in patent litigation in both jury and bench trials, Markman hearings, preliminary injunction hearings and proceedings before the International Trade Commission.