The Washington Post

Patton Boggs , Locke Lord end merger talks

Washington law and lobbying powerhouse Patton Boggs and Texas-based law firm Locke Lord have called off merger talks, the firms said in a joint statement.

“Following preliminary talks and routine due diligence, Locke Lord and Patton Boggs have jointly decided to end their recent discussions regarding a possible combination,” said the Dec. 19 statement.

The news, reported earlier by Reuters, comes as Patton Boggs, the District’s largest lobby shop by revenue, is in the midst of a restructuring plan that includes trimming its equity partnership and revamping its partner pay system. The firm this year has laid off 40 attorneys and 70 staffers in response to declining revenue and profits. As of the end of October, lobbying revenue at the firm was down 14 percent compared to the same period last year, from $35.2 million to $30.7 million.

Last month, Patton Boggs managing partner Ed Newberry called the prospect of a Locke Lord merger “very attractive,” saying that one of the few ways to grow at a time that demand for legal services is flat or declining is through mergers or acquisitions.

The combination with Locke Lord would have expanded the reach of Patton Boggs, which has 450 lawyers in the United States and the Middle East. Locke Lord has about 650 attorneys in the United States, Hong Kong, London.

Catherine Ho covers lobbying at The Washington Post. She previously worked at the LA Daily Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Detroit Free Press, the Wichita Eagle and the San Mateo County Times.
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