You’d think that completing one major merger would be enough for a top Am Law firm, but apparently the saying “new year, new you” applies to Biglaw firms too. Look out, world, because it looks like Holland & Knight has got the urge to merge once again.
Just one year after its merger with Thompson & Knight, the Top 30 firm has its sights set on Nashville, Tennessee, where H&K is reportedly in talks with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, a 260-lawyer firm with an incredibly successful healthcare practice. Nashville isn’t just Music City — it’s synonymous with healthcare services, too, and Waller’s burgeoning practice can’t be beat.
The American Lawyer has additional details on what the Holland & Knight/Waller merger would look like financially:
If completed, the deal would combine Nashville’s largest law firm—which earned $182.4 million last year—with the nation’s 30th largest firm by gross revenue. Following its August merger with Texas Am Law 200 firm Thompson & Knight, Holland & Knight posted $1.4 billion in revenue last year. Together, the firms would bring in $1.58 billion and climb the Am Law 100 four spots to 26th (holding all else equal), according to data from the Law.com Compass Merger Model Summary. …
The firms differ along lines of profitability and billing rates. Holland & Knight equity partners make an average of $2 million annually, compared to $1 million at Waller. Waller maintains a higher profit margin and less leverage than Holland & Knight, but its average partner compensation trails Holland & Knight’s by a quarter of a million dollars, and its revenue per lawyer is $700,000 to Holland & Knight’s $1 million. Waller posted a good year in 2021, with gross revenue up 13% and net income rising nearly 20%.
A source familiar with the deal told Am Law that “neither firm’s partnership appears to be near a consensus” at this time. It would be music to Holland & Knight’s ears if the firm were able to merge with Waller and adopt its booming healthcare practice. Stay tuned for more coverage on this prospective merger.
Nashville’s Waller Lansden in Merger Talks With Holland & Knight as Big Law Moves to the Music City [American Lawyer]
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.