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Certain Midwest and second-tier markets, in terms of population, have garnered particular interest from large law firms, especially those that serve middle-market clients, reports Lizzy McLellan of The American Lawyer. According to statistics from AmLaw’s latest NLJ 500 survey, the number of lawyers at NLJ 500 firms grew by 100 or more in each of the Washington State, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan markets.

“There are a lot of firms that started out in the secondary, tertiary markets that now have offices in lots of other secondary, tertiary markets,” notes Mary K. Young of the Zeughauser Group. When those firms make entry to a new market, she adds, they often acquire or take from smaller local firms that would not have made it onto the NLJ 500 on their own, (as quoted in The American Lawyer).

David Barnard of Blaqwell Inc. also notes that small firms based in smaller markets are increasingly looking for merger opportunities. “Specialization is continuing. It’s no longer possible to do everything. It’s just too tough,” he said. So small practices have to choose their strengths and double down there. After doing that, he says, “the lawyers in those towns are combining so they can offer full service to local clients and maintain their livelihood,” (as quoted in The American Lawyer).

See highlights from the full article on The American Lawyer.

Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.

Law firm mergers and acquisitions are on track to reach an all-time high in 2017, according to the latest report released by legal consulting firm Altman Weil. So far this year, there have been 52 combinations announced, including 24 in the second quarter, topping the prior mid-year peak of 48 in 2016.

Altman Weil’s MergerLine report revealed acquisitions of firms with twenty or fewer lawyers accounted for 86% of all deals in the first quarter and 71% in the second quarter of 2017. For these deals, acquirers’ primary focus was the Midwest, including firms in Ohio, Indiana, Missouri and Michigan, and the Southern US, including firms in Florida and Texas.

“The chief driver of combinations is the battle for market share that’s being waged in response to flat or decreasing demand for law firm services, and we don’t expect that to change any time soon,” said Altman Weil principal, Eric Seegar. “Law firms of all sizes are vying to acquire new clients, expand into new markets, and upgrade their brands through quality combinations.  Many of the largest U.S. firms are now routinely looking outside the domestic market for those opportunities.”

See the full report and article on The American Lawyer.

Contact Bill Sugarman for more information.