April 18, 2024

Feb 1 (Reuters) – US law firm Clark Hill said Wednesday it has combined with Philadelphia-based litigation firm Conrad O’Brien, marking the latest tie-up in an already-busy year for law firm mergers.

The move will add 18 litigators to Clark Hill’s Philadelphia office. It is the second Philadelphia merger so far this year for Detroit-founded Clark Hill, which last month absorbed Larsson & Scheuritzel, a small real estate law firm.

Clark Hill said it has doubled the size of its Philadelphia office since the start of 2023.

In a joint interview, Nicholas Centrella, the former managing partner of Conrad O’Brien, and Clark Hill CEO John Hensien both said their firms needed to grow in order to compete better.

“We’ve been in the Philadelphia market for quite a while now,” Hensien said. “It is a large legal market, dominated by some very large international firms. We have felt we needed to grow our size in that market to take full advantage of it.”

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Centrella said Clark Hill’s rate structures were much more compatible with Conrad O’Brien’s than other firms in Philadelphia.

“We don’t bill $2,000 an hour,” he said.

Law firm mergers — including large and midsize firm combinations — have been gaining steam this year, with several announced since the start of the year. The total number of US firm mergers increased in 2022 after a pandemic-era slowdown.

On Wednesday, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe completed its merger with Buckley, creating a 1,150-lawyer firm. On Tuesday Haynes Boone said it combined with Smith Pachter McWhorter, a small Virginia-based firm that does government contracts, construction and white-collar defense work.

Other planned deals include Smith, Gambrell & Russell and Freeborn & Peters, Maynard Cooper & Gale and Nexsen Pruet, Bricker & Eckler and Graydon Head & Ritchey, and Holland & Knight and Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis.

Read More:

Law firm tie-ups continue with the Haynes and Boone combination

Reporting by David Thomas

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

David Thomas

Thomson Reuters

David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.

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