Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, September 13, 2007


Page 1


National Law Firms Will Merge, Keep Downtown Office


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Chicago-based law firm of Lord Bissell & Brook LLP, with a 42-member office in downtown Los Angeles, will merge Oct. 2 with a national firm headquartered in Texas, it was announced yesterday.

The new firm, Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP, will employ some 700 attorneys in offices in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, London, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Sacramento and Washington, D.C. It expects gross annual revenues of approximately $400 million, placing it within American Lawyer magazine’s “AmLaw 100” rankings of the top U.S. law firms.

Locke Liddell’s Marc Watts, who will serve as co-vice chair of the new firm, said the firm does not have immediate plans to add lawyers to the Los Angeles office, but expects that it may do so as a result of future growth.

Jerry Clements, managing partner of Locke Liddell who will serve as chair of the new firm, characterized the move as a “merger of equals.”

“It became very clear during our meetings over the past three months that both firms have similar cultures, share the same objectives and philosophies, and want to build on each other’s strengths and experiences,” she said in a release. “Together, we will immediately realize geographic diversity, establish a larger national footprint and increase our breadth and depth.”

Watts explained that the firm’s practices complemented one another and that the move made strategic sense by combining Lord Bissell’s established practice areas in insurance and intellectual property with Locke Liddell’s experience in transactional law.

Renee A. Diver, a spokesperson for Lord Bissell, said that the two firms did not have any overlap except for offices in Washington, D.C. which would be combined. She also confirmed that access to legal markets in the South, particularly in Texas, was a strategic consideration motivating Lord Bissell.

Diver said the new firm’s Los Angeles office will continue to be headed by partner-in-charge Mitchell J. Popham. A full-service office, it assists domestic and international clients on litigation, general commercial transactions, corporate representation and insurance regulatory matters. It also hosts an expanding entertainment, media and intellectual property practice.

Diver also said that the office would not experience any shifts in practice areas and predicted continued growth.

“We expect nothing but good news,” she said.

Watts agreed, saying that layoffs were unlikely.

“In our experience, this creates more opportunity,” he said. “If anything, we will need more attorneys.”

Lord Bissell was founded in 1914 and serves international clients throughout the United States and in the United Kingdom. Locke Liddell was established in 1891, and is a leading law firm in Texas and Louisiana, representing businesses and individual clients with extensive domestic and foreign business interests.

Thomas Jenkins, current chair of Lord Bissell, will serve as co-vice chair of the firm with Watts. The new firm’s Executive Committee will include attorneys Ed DeYoung, Don Glendenning and Bill Swanstrom from Locke Liddel, and Tom Cunningham, Nick DiGiovanni and Jackie Klein from Lord Bissell. Bryan Goolsby, former managing partner of Locke Liddell, will serve as executive chair and will advise the committee on financial and strategic matters.


Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company