Squire Sanders Hammonds merger confirmed by partnership vote

Hammonds and Squire Sanders & Dempsey will go ahead with their transatlantic merger on 1 January 2011, after securing the support of more than 95% of their combined partnership.

All bar 17 of the firms’ partners took part in the vote, with all voting in favour of the tie-up in a process that closed yesterday (7 November). The vote paves the way for the January launch of a top 50 global firm with combined revenues of around $625m (£386m).

With some 460 partners and 1,275 lawyers working across 37 offices and 17 countries, Squire Sanders Hammonds will be ranked in the top 25 global firms by lawyer headcount, according to the Am Law 100.

It will be known as Squire Sanders Hammonds in most jurisdictions where Hammonds has a presence, including the UK, Europe and Asia. However, in the US and Eastern Europe, where Hammonds has no offering, the combined firm will be branded as Squire Sanders & Dempsey.

Squire Sanders chairman Jim Maiwurm (pictured above right) will become global chairman of the merged firm, while the US firm’s managing partner Howard Nicols will become managing partner for the Americas and Asia. Hammonds managing partner Peter Crossley (pictured above left) will become managing partner for Europe.

The combined firm will have two separate partnerships and profit pools, structured as a Swiss Verein. It will be governed by a 13-person global board chaired by Maiwurm, and including Crossley, Nicols and six legacy Squire Sanders partners and four legacy Hammonds partners.

Lawyer remuneration is expected to be based primarily on merit by 2012, with partners set to be appraised and measured against the same checklist by the same date. The firm will also create a joint global bonus pot.

The firm will have 14 practice groups and 22 sectors with global heads still in the process of being appointed. Similarly, decisions still need to be taken in relation to real estate in locations where both firms have offices – Beijing, Brussels, Hong Hong and London.

Crossley said: “Clients currently working with lawyers from both legacy firms are enthusiastic about the combination’s expanded practice expertise, industry knowledge, regional strength and global reach. We are delighted to report that clients’ reactions reflect what we concluded after we began discussions with Squire Sanders. Simply put, we are better together.”

Maiwurm commented: “The pace of the business world is accelerating. Clients expect their law firms to embrace change and seize opportunity even in a challenging business climate. The combination of our firms is designed for the times and positioned for the future. We will continue to seek bold solutions for clients wherever their business takes them, and we will do this in a collaborative fashion that makes us both an inviting place to work and a great choice for clients.”

Hammonds and Squire Sanders publicly confirmed merger talks in August this year. Squire Sanders reported 2009 turnover of $545m (£353m), while profits per equity partner (PEP) stood at $795,000 (£516,000). Hammonds’ 2009-10 financial results saw PEP rise 32% to £364,000, while turnover dropped by 6% to £117.8m.

Squire Sanders Hammonds board:

James Maiwurm – Squire Sanders & Dempsey
Howard Nicols – Squire Sanders & Dempsey, New York
Steven Doi – Squire Sanders & Dempsey, Tokyo
Brian Hartnett – Squire Sanders & Dempsey, Brussels
Susan Hastings – Squire Sanders & Dempsey, Cleveland
Christopher Johnson – Squire Sanders & Dempsey, Phoenix-
Traci Rollins – Squire Sanders & Dempsey, West Palm Beach, Tampa
Mark Ruehlmann – Squire Sanders & Dempsey, Cincinnati

Peter Crossley – Hammonds, London
Robert Weekes – Hammonds, London
Rafael Alonso – Hammonds, Madrid
David Hull – Hammonds, London-based North America head
Jonathan Jones – Hammonds, Leeds

Click here for the American Lawyer’s coverage of the merger.

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