Exclusive: Washington lobbying law firm in merger talks - sources

Sun Oct 27, 2013 2:49pm EDT
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By Casey Sullivan

(Reuters) - 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.   Continued...