Law Firm Merger Mania – Part 2

It was a year ago that I wrote the post “Law Firm Merger Mania“, talking about the trend of law firms merging. Notably, we were seeing international firms merging to build a Canadian presence. It is interesting to check in again to see how/whether this trend is developing.

Canada’s Fasken Martineau expands into South Africa
Today we have news of a Canadian firm merging to build a larger international presence: I noticed the announcement on Twitter this morning that Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP has merged with 76 lawyer South African law firm Bell Dewar Inc. based in Johannesburg. Globe and Mail has the coverage in Fasken Martineau makes big move into Africa (October 21, 2012).

According to the Globe & Mail:

The merger, scheduled to take effect in February 2013, comes after years of speculation in the Canadian legal world about potential mergers with large U.S. or British firms. It means Fasken Martineau, which has offices across Canada, will now have 167 lawyers abroad, many more than any other law firm headquartered in Canada.

US firms moving into South America

A quick glance today at Altman Weil MergerLine™  also shows large U.S. law firms are notably moving into South America. For example:

UK and Australian firms merging

Looking at MergerLine UK from Jomati Consultants LLP, we see that UK and Australian firms have been building an affinity:

  • 1600 lawyer London-based firm Herbert Smith merged with Sydney’s 1200 lawyer firm Freehills in June to create Herbert Smith Freehills
  • 1000 lawyer Melbourne-based Slater & Gordon merged with London’s 133 lawyer firm Russell Jones & Walker in January
  • 795 lawyer firm Ashurst in London merged with Sydney’s 828 lawyer firm Blake Dawson in June 2011
  • 2181 lawyer London-based DLA Piper merged with 700 lawyer DLA Phillips Fox based in Sydney in January 2011.

See also:

Opportunity Lost? Looking Back at the Summit of the Americas – Diplomatic Courier (May 2, 2012)

Law Firms Grow Through Targeted Acquisitions – Altman Weil (October 1, 2012)


  1. The press release from Faskens with link to their press release is here: