United States: Piper Rudnick And DLA Combine To Create A Global Legal Services Organization Merged Firm to Have 2,700 Lawyers in 49 Offices in 18 Countries
Last Updated: December 6 2004

London, Chicago, Baltimore – December 6, 2004 -- Piper Rudnick LLP, one of the United States’ leading law firms, and DLA, which has extensive coverage across Europe and Asia and is ranked 7th in the UK, today announced an international merger of equals that will create one of the largest law firms in the world.

The announcement comes two months after Piper Rudnick’s announcement of a merger with Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich LLP. The combined firm will be known as DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary and will become the only legal provider in the world with more than 1,000 lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic. Both mergers become effective January 1, 2005.

The merger was announced jointly by Piper Rudnick’s co-chairs, Francis B. Burch Jr., and Lee I. Miller, and DLA’s managing partner, Nigel Knowles. The combined firm will be led by Burch, Miller and Knowles who will all serve as joint CEOs.

With more than 2,700 lawyers located in 18 countries and projected 2005 revenues of $1.5 billion, the combined firm will become the third largest law firm in the world based on number of attorneys and the second largest based on revenue, according to the latest AmLaw Global 100 rankings. DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary will have 49 offices located throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia and Russia, uniquely positioning the firm to help companies with their sophisticated legal needs anywhere in the world.

Globalization, Client Needs Drive Combination

"While the size of this combination is certain to capture attention, this merger represents the culmination of the strategic plan that was put into motion in 1999 when Piper & Marbury merged with Rudnick & Wolfe," said Burch. "More important than size is delivering a platform that will accommodate the expanding global needs of our clients."

Miller continued, "This merger is designed to extend the global reach of our key practice areas so that we can serve the needs of clients wherever they choose to do business. As clients consolidate the number of law firms they retain and as they expand into new countries and markets, we will be able to offer consistent, multi-national service across a range of core practices and geographies from a single point of contact."

"We will differentiate ourselves by being one of few global firms that is not predominantly capital markets-driven," explained Knowles. "Rather, our goal is to become a well-rounded firm of choice for clients that are seeking legal practice depth and a single resource for all of their global legal needs."

Leaders of both firms stress that their respective client bases have become increasingly active across national borders as consolidation and convergence continue within all industries served by the legal profession.

"Our clients are distributing products and services across international borders, opening and closing plants and offices, interacting with international regulatory bodies and settling disputes across international jurisdictions," said Burch. "In turn, we need to have the legal knowledge and geographic presence to address those needs."

Coupled with the globalization trend, purchasers of legal services are reducing the number of law firms they use across regions and continents. As such, those clients are seeking firms with the platform to address their expanding needs.

Track Records, Entrepreneurial Cultures Drive Integration

"What is interesting about this merger beyond its size and scale," explained Brad Hildebrandt, chairman of legal consulting firm Hildebrandt International, "is the fact that these firms have very entrepreneurial cultures and have been successfully expanding through mergers over the past several years. More importantly, these firms have demonstrated an ability to effectively integrate each of their mergers around a common vision which has been critical to each firm’s success up to this point."

The merged organization will provide an extensive range of legal services across all existing practice areas and will be organized along the lines of seven global practice groups as follows:

  • Corporate and Finance - On the corporate and finance side, both firms operate significant transactional-based practices and focus on middle and upper-mid market clients. The combined corporate practice would have ranked third in the world in 2004 for the 111 M&A transactions it completed in the first half of the year. It is also on the panels of a number of major banks and financial institutions and has a substantial bankruptcy and restructuring practice.
  • Litigation - The group brings together more than 800 top litigators in the US, Europe and Asia and offers lawyers experienced in patent, class action, securities, antitrust, banking and finance, technology, telecommunications and insurance disputes.
  • Real Estate - With over 200 real estate lawyers in both the US and the UK, this top-ranked group will become one of the world's pre-eminent international real estate practices, serving the needs of developers, corporations, retailers and investors.
  • Legislative and Regulatory - Both firms operate groups in this area and are widely recognized as leaders in this field. The combined group will have the unique opportunity to help corporations address challenges and opportunities at any level of government around the world.
  • Human resources - This practice represents a combination of DLA’s market-leading Human Resources Group and Piper Rudnick's Labor and Employment Law Group and will include more than 200 lawyers located in key jurisdictions around the world.
  • Commercial - The group will be a market leader in European Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and the provision of infrastructure and project finance services to sponsors and funders internationally. The group has lawyers who are particularly experienced in energy, sports, water, defense, healthcare and transportation, and is recognized in particular for its top-ranked franchise practice.
  • Technology, Media and Communications (TMC) - This global practice represents a combination of market-leading teams in information technology/outsourcing, telecommunications, IP, media, e-business, sport, data protection and privacy. With over 420 lawyers globally it will be the dominant global TMC/TMT practice.

About Piper Rudnick LLP

Piper Rudnick is a business law firm of 1,000 lawyers in offices throughout the United States and a European office in Paris, whose core practices are litigation, real estate, business and technology, and government affairs. In October 2004, the firm announced that it would merge with Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich LLP, a leading California-based corporate and technology firm. The merger is to take effect in January 2005, and will result in a US presence of about 1,350 lawyers in 19 offices.

About DLA

DLA is an international legal service organization and provides a full range of legal and business services through its offices in Europe and Asia. The firm is committed to building close relationships with its clients in order to serve their long term needs through its award winning Client Relationship Management program. In addition to its 29 offices in 16 countries, DLA is also the founding member of DLA Group, an exclusive alliance of multi-service law firms with a shared vision to provide coordinated legal services to clients locally and internationally. Other Group members include: DLA Nordic (Scandinavia), Lukowicz, Merski & Partners (Poland) and Ang & Co (Singapore). After January 1, 2005, the Group will be known as DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary Group.

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