Law360 (November 14, 2019, 7:51 PM EST) -- A burst of news this week about possible mergers among large law firms reflects an urgency across the industry to remain competitive as 500- to 750-lawyer firms struggle to keep up with law's ever-burgeoning behemoths, experts say.
The discussed mergers between Troutman Sanders LLP and Pepper Hamilton LLP and between Faegre Baker Daniels and Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP would create the 14th and 10th largest law firms in the U.S., respectively, according to data on lawyer headcounts published earlier this year by Law360. Each of the combined law firms would have more than 1,000 attorneys.
According to industrywide statistics, it seems that it pays in today's legal market to not only be big but to be really, really big.
"The top 25 firms are really in a different category than most other firms," said Jeffrey Lowe, global leader of recruiting firm Major Lindsey & Africa's law firm practice. "There's been a sense in recent years that those in the middle of the pack need to figure out their game plan and a way to move forward. And I think many see a merger as a viable way to do that."