April 29, 2019

A Year Later, Leaders of Merged Texas Firms Ponder on Future


The honeymoon is over for the three big Texas firms that merged with national firms last year. However, the effort to join together was well worth it, the leaders of the combined firms said, as they look forward to even greater gains.

Earlier this year, strong financial results for 2018 and tangible benefits of collaboration and cross-selling were pointed out by the leaders.

Going forward, the leaders expect to build on these synergies even as the first year of integration has been costly and time-intensive although necessary. “The mood around the firm is really, really upbeat. The opportunity for our firm has never been stronger in our 129-year history,” said John Hern Jr., chief executive officer of Clark Hill, the Detroit firm that merged with Dallas-based Strasburger & Price. The firm is known as Clark Hill Strasburger in Texas.

In April 2018, Andrews Kurth Kenyon of Houston merged with Virginia firm Hunton & Williams, creating Hunton Andrews Kurth. Similarly, Gardere Wynne Sewell of Dallas merged with Foley & Lardner of Milwaukee. That firm is known as Foley & Lardner, except in Texas, where it is Foley Gardere, and Foley Gardere Arena in Mexico.

These mergers formed three of the five largest law firm combinations last year, according to Altman Weil’s MergerLine. There was obvious growth in revenue for all three firms though profitability lagged slightly for some of them.

Hopefully, the SC judgment, which was keenly awaited, should lay to rest the prevailing confusion and ambiguity in the industry while interpreting basic wages.

Gross revenue grew by 52.8% to $295.9 million, and net income increased by 71.8% to $65.8 million at Clark Hill.

At Foley & Lardner too, gross revenue and net income grew in a big way. “We were delighted in the growth this year, particularly with all of the expenses associated with the consolidation and, frankly, the effort,” said Jay Rothman, chairman and chief executive officer of Foley & Lardner.

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