According to a Reuters report released yesterday, over the past three months, there has been a steady decline in the number of American law firm mergers and acquisitions. The number of mergers that closed decreased between first and second quarter, from 20 to five, and the number of mergers that were announced dropped from 14 to 10.
The Altman Weil consulting firm, which conducted the research, suspects that the recent downfall of Dewey & LeBoeuf and flood of 300 new attorneys in the job market, may have something to do with the decline in mergers. Dewey, which merged in 2007, may serve as an example to other firms of how mergers can have negative implications. Kent Zimmerman, a consultant with Zeughauser Group who advises on mergers, was quoted in Reuters as having said that Dewey “made firms cautious in evaluating growth strategy… firms that are thinking of growing know that and want to evaluate opportunities with scrutiny.”