Law firm Kirkpatrick & Lockhart aims to keep growing
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One of the city's biggest law firms, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis, is in merger talks again. The firm is discussing a possible combination with Texas-based Hughes & Luce, which has 150 attorneys in Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin.
The merger could be finalized by the end of the year, said Peter Kalis, K&L's chairman. The combined firm would have more than 1,500 lawyers in 24 offices worldwide, making it approximately the same size as Pittsburgh-based Reed Smith, which as a result of recent mergers has about 1,500 lawyers and 21 offices.
K&L's latest merger discussions began in the spring when a partner in its Dallas office asked the hiring partner at Hughes & Luce to meet for coffee, said Edward Coultas, managing partner at Hughes & Luce.
Hughes & Luce was attracted to K&L because of its global presence, especially in Asia, said Mr. Coultas. "We've been missing that ? the opportunity to serve our clients from Dallas all over the world."
K&L gained its foothold in Asia through its January merger with a prominent Seattle firm, Preston Gates & Ellis, which had offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Taipei.
The Pittsburgh firm is eyeing a bigger presence in Texas, Mr. Kalis said, because that state "is an extraordinary collection of business enterprises ? and we're very excited about aligning ourselves with those business enterprises." Hughes & Luce's clients include Electronic Data Systems, Dell Computer, American Airlines, SBC Communications and retail chain Dillard's Inc.
The firm was founded in 1973 when four lawyers broke off from an established firm in Dallas. The proposed deal with K&L would be its first merger, Mr. Coultas said. "We are truly grown from Dallas."
When it merged with Preston Gates, K&L projected 2007 revenues would reach $750 million.
Reed Smith estimated revenues for the year would be $850 million following its mergers this year with Richards Butler of London and Sachnoff & Weaver of Chicago.
First Published July 26, 2007 7:48 pm