By Peter Rudegeair
Oct 2 (Reuters) - Three regional law firms announced
acquisitions on Monday, jump-starting deal activity for the
fourth quarter and continuing the trend of small-firm mergers.
Florida firm Carlton Fields said on Monday it would acquire
the New York-based Rosner & Napierala. The move provides the
general practice firm, which has 300 attorneys, with its first
office in Manhattan and adds six new attorneys, including two
Adams and Reese, a 260-lawyer business law firm with
offices throughout the Southeast, said it would acquire Igler &
Dougherty of Tallahassee, Florida, gaining seven attorneys and
In a third merger, Fort Lauderdale-based Becker & Poliakoff
said it would acquire Litman Law, a six-lawyer firm in Manassas,
Virginia. The Litman Law deal comes a week after Becker &
Poliakoff announced it was acquiring another small southeastern
firm, Cornett, Googe & Associates, which is based in Stuart,
Florida. Prior to both acquisitions, Becker & Poliakoff employed
145 attorneys and lobbyists.
Mergers and acquisitions among smaller regional firms have
been a trend since the second half of 2010, according to Fairfax
Associates, a consulting group. Last quarter, there were 14 law
firm mergers, the same number as the third quarter of 2011,
according to MergerLine, a quarterly report issued by law firm
consultancy Altman Weil. Just under half of those deals involved
firms in the Southeast, and almost all involved firms with fewer
than 25 attorneys.
"Small deals are easier to swallow, easier to integrate,"
said Gary Rosen, Becker & Poliakoff's managing shareholder.
"Negotiations tend to be less complicated, and usually they can
be accomplished in a short period of time."
Overall, 39 law firm mergers were announced in the first
nine months of 2012, according to Altman Weil. That's four fewer
deals than were announced over the same period in 2011. All but
four of those announced in 2012 involved firms with fewer than
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