Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, British Firm Announce Discussions To Combine Firms

Sunday, August 1, 2004 - 01:00



Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP (K&L) and English law firm Nicholson Graham & Jones (NGJ) have announced that they have begun discussions aimed at a possible combination of the firms later in 2004.


If the combination occurs between K&L, with 800 lawyers located in 10 offices across the United States, and NGJ, with 135 lawyers in London, it would rank as one of the larger trans-Atlantic law firm mergers and the largest involving an American firm without an existing presence in the United Kingdom.


The combined firm is expected to have fee revenue exceeding $500 million in 2005, its first full year of existence.


Peter Kalis, K&L's chairman, and Michael Johns, NGJ's chairman, said in a joint statement: "With substantial offices in New York and London and with offices across the U.S. from New England to California, we believe that our combined firm will be well positioned for the globalization challenges of the 21st century. Chief among those challenges is the ability to serve the needs of our clients with a seamless efficiency no matter where they arise. By combining our firms, K&L and NGJ will meet this challenge with talented lawyers, critical mass, and practice diversity on both sides of the Atlantic. Further expansion into continental Europe as well as into other key U.S. markets will be an early priority for our combined firm."


Mr. Kalis and Mr. Johns emphasized that, in addition to expected synergies in both the U.S. and the U.K. arising from many disciplines, several practices would differentiate the combined firm in the UK marketplace.


The Management Committee of K&L and the Partnership Board of NGJ have approved the talks, and partners in both firms have been briefed on the discussions. It is anticipated that, if the talks proceed satisfactorily, formal proposals will be put to the respective partnerships in September/October 2004.


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Kirkpatrick also has announced that Louis Smith has joined the firm as of counsel, resident in the Newark, NJ office.


Mr. Smith's practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, including class actions, contract disputes, business torts, banking issues, and bankruptcy actions, as well as product liability claims.


He also has significant experience with alternative dispute resolution proceedings, including matters administered by the American Arbitration Association.