The Minneapolis Law Firm Market Changed Dramatically in 2019

Early in 2019, we predicted that it would be a big year in the Minneapolis legal market for new entrants. However, we did not anticipate seven major firms arriving here or announcing they will be here very early in 2020.  Here is a recap of past year’s noteworthy arrivals and what we think 2020 holds in store. 

The Firms (with AmLaw 200 ranking) 

  • Greenberg Traurig (14)
  • Lewis Brisbois (66)
  • Drinker Biddle & Reath (79)
  • Taft Stettinius & Hollister (117*)
  • Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr (131)
  • Lathrop & Gage (178)
  • Spencer Fane (188)

The Three Firms Arriving via Merger

  1. Taft announced that it will merge with Briggs & Morgan in what was the biggest domestic merger announced in the third quarter of 2019.
  2. Lathrop & Gage announced it will merge with Gray Plant Mooty.
  3. Drinker Biddle announced it will merge with Faegre Baker Daniels in a combination that will vault the new firm well into the AmLaw 50. 

All three of these mergers will take effect shortly after the first of the year.

The Four Firms Arriving via Office Openings

 Firm    Month Opened   # of Lawyers at Opening  # of Lawyers on 12/31 
Spencer Fane  January  3 9
Greenberg Traurig   February   3 16
Saul Ewing  February   8 13
Lewis Brisbois  September  4 6


Greenberg has enjoyed the widest appeal since opening, attracting 13 new lawyers from five different firms.

Forecast

While we are aware of additional firms that are interested in establishing a presence in Minneapolis, we have not heard of any other imminent arrivals. What is certain is that competition for top lateral partners and associates will be fierce in 2020 as these new arrivals compete with the rest of the Minneapolis market for talent. 

*Taft does not report to the AmLaw 200.  This position is a projection based on the firm’s 2018 revenue.

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