Is Law Firm M&A Really On the Up? — Let’s Look Closer at the Numbers

February 1, 2016 | Published by Big Law Business
In 2015, some reports showed record numbers of law firm mergers, but our numbers actually show that the total number of mergers for 2015 was lower than the last two years. At Fairfax Associates we tracked 49 completed/effective mergers that involved at least one U.S. firm and with a minimum of five lawyers in 2015. This is actually down from 57 mergers in 2014 and 58 mergers in 2013. Merger activity last year was more closely aligned with 2011 and 2012, when we recorded 45 and 43 mergers respectively. Much of the difference in the reports is attributable to mergers under 5 lawyers, which we view as more akin to lateral groups than mergers and often create limited market impact.

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