Is Crowell & Moring in merger talks? The National Law Journal's sibling publication, The Recorder, this morning said there are reports that the Washington-based firm is in talks with San Francisco's Folger Levin & Kahn.
In an interview with an NLJ reporter, Crowell & Moring Chairman Kent Gardiner said he wouldn't confirm or deny the reports. "I unfortunately can’t comment on that," he said.
Folger's Web site lists 56 attorneys, and the firm has offices in both San Francisco and Los Angeles. Folger's Web site has a long list of clients, including Citibank, Johnson & Johnson, and Hilton Hotels. The Recorder reports the two firms have some overlapping practice areas, including complex litigation, antitrust, corporate matters and IP.
Michael Goecke, a senior associate at Lerch, Early & Brewer who left Crowell in May, said he had no knowledge of any merger discussions between Crowell and Folger, but they would not be out of step with the firm's growth strategy.
"When I was there, the message from management was that there would be no major merger with a larger or equal sized firm," Goecke said. "But they were willing to acquire a smaller firm that bring complementary practices to the firm."
Goecke said Crowell was "always looking for opportunities that made sense," noting the firm's 2006 acquisition of King Pagano Harrison, a health care and labor and employment boutique. The KPH acquisition added 20 lawyers, including nine partners, to Crowell's offices in New York and Washington.
Crowell has made several other smaller acquisitions. In 2007, the firm raided Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney to add an eight-lawyer financial institutions practice to its New York office. In 2008, Crowell opened a Los Angeles office with the acquisition of seven lawyers from Lightfoot Vandevelde Sadowsky Crouchley Rutherford & Levine.
- Jeff Jeffrey contributed to this blog post.