Kennedys seals US merger with 100-lawyer insurance firm

Nick Thomas Chris Carroll-Article-201705050232

Kennedys is set to merge with New Jersey insurance firm Carroll McNulty & Kull (CMK), bolting on 100 lawyers on the other side of the Atlantic through the deal

The merger, effective 1 June, creates a 32-office firm with nearly 1,100 lawyers across the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The merged firm will be known as Kennedys CMK in the US, and Kennedys abroad.

CMK has offices in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Texas, taking Kennedys’ office count to 32 worldwide, in addition to 16 associated offices and co-operations.

Kennedys’ existing office in Miami, which provides US law advice as well as acting as a hub for claims and coverage issues in Latin America and the Caribbean, will be badged as Kennedys CMK.

Kennedys senior partner Nick Thomas (pictured above left) called the merger “a meeting of the minds”.

“We know each other well, as colleagues and friends, and are confident that our cultures will integrate to the benefit of all,” Thomas said in a statement. “Clients will see immediate benefits from working with a global firm and they have been overwhelmingly positive in their support of this merger.”

Chris Carroll (pictured above right), a co-founder of CMK, is set to join Kennedys’ global strategy board, with CMK co-founders Joseph McNulty and Gary Kull also joining Kennedys CMK, along with managing partner Margaret Catalano.

While CMK brings about 100 lawyers, including 43 partners, to the merger, Kennedys has more than 975 lawyers and 750 staff.

Kennedys has been expanding fast internationally. It opened its Mexico office earlier this year, and opened in Chile and Columbia in August. Also this year, it launched a formal association with Studio Legale Rinaldi Associati, an Italian firm.

The two firms share insurance as their core business. They have worked together on a number of complex, drawn-out insurance cases over about 15 years, Carroll said, and formed a “deep” relationship.

Carroll said Kennedys initially approached his firm about a potential merger a few years ago, however CMK was then focused on its own growth, having just opened its offices in Philadelphia and Chicago. The merger talks resumed about six months ago.

CMK, founded in 1997, focuses on coverage and defense but, like Kennedys, it has also ventured into other sectors including construction, real estate and healthcare.

Kennedys has bases in Auckland, Belfast, Birmingham, Bogotá, Brussels, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Copenhagen, Dubai, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hong Kong, Lima, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Manchester, Mexico City, Miami, Moscow, Santiago, São Paulo, Sheffield, Singapore, Sydney and Taunton.

Carroll said the combined firm will likely continue to expand in the near future.

“I would anticipate you’ll see more office openings throughout the United States,” he said. “It’s not going to be willy-nilly. It’s going to be strategic where it makes its sense for our clients.”