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The management of Lovells and Hogan & Hartson have today (29 October) announced their ‘unanimous’ support for a transatlantic merger, clearing the way for detailed discussions with both firms’ partnerships.
The decision, which followed a meeting yesterday (28 October) of management at both firms, means that detailed proposals for the merger of equals will be sent to the two partnerships. The proposed union, which was exclusively revealed earlier this month by Legal Week, would create a top 10 global law firm with around 2,500 lawyers across 40 offices globally.
Lovells managing partner David Harris (pictured) commented: “The strong similarities in the fundamental values of each firm, combined with the powerful business rationale for the merger, are a compelling proposition. We have very complementary areas of strength, such as in corporate, finance, regulatory law, dispute resolution and intellectual property.”
Hogan chairman Warren Gorrell said the union would “preserve the collegial and team-oriented cultures of each firm and our commitments to community service”. He added: “This merger strengthens our ability to provide the highest quality service to our clients on their most important and challenging matters where they need us most.”
Details of the terms of the proposed merger will be sent to partners at both firms during the second half of next week, with the firms then planning a series of partner meetings over the next few weeks to discuss the plans in depth.
Wider discussions will now be held at Lovells’ partnership conference on 21 November to give partners an opportunity to air concerns about the proposed tie-up. A vote will be held post-conference in mid-December. If the merger is ratified it would come into effect by 1 May 2010.
The Washington DC-based Hogan was the 22nd largest practice in the US in 2008 in revenue terms, with fee income rising 4.9% to $922.5m (£576m), while profits per equity partner (PEP) fell 1.7% to $1.16m (£725,000).
Lovells was an above-trend performer in Europe during the 2008-09 financial year, boosting revenues by 10.9% to £531m, though PEP fell over the same period by 11.3% to £586,000.
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