"O" No: Dewey Orrick Dies in Discussions

NoThe merger was supposed to "change the face of the legal industry." But Dewey Orrick never happened.  Law firms Dewey Ballantine of New York and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe of San Francisco announced yesterday that they have called off their merger discussions.

The combined firm would have had more than 1,200 lawyers and nearly $1 billion in revenue, based on Am Law 100 data.

In a joint statement, the firms said, "A combination of this size and scope posed significant challenges. While both firms tried their best to work through these challenges, we were unable to bring the merger to completion." They added that no one issue led to the end of the negotiations, according to Law.com.

Since September, when the two firms confirmed that they were in discussions, key partners have abandoned ship at Dewey.  I guess they didn't think the combination was a great idea.

Back in October the firms issued a statement saying that the management and executive committees of both firms intended to recommend approving the combination. Dewey chairman Morton Pierce said the merger would "change the face of the legal industry, serving as a model of what law firms need to look like in order to anticipate their clients' needs in a national and international marketplace."

The firms had already decided that the new firm would be called Dewey Orrick and would retain Orrick's green 'O' logo.

Baxter told Law.com that Orrick had a stellar year in 2006, with revenue up 20 percent, to $666 million and profits per partner up 15 percent, to $1.4 million.

One key issue that the two firms had to resolve was how many of the partners in the combined firm would have full equity status. Together they have 260 equity partners and 155 nonequity, with Orrick having the most nonequity partners, according to Law.com.

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