Davis Wright Tremaine to acquire financial services law firm McGonigle

REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao(JAPAN)

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  • Major law firm Davis Wright Tremaine set to merge with McGonigle, 44 lawyers
  • A college connection between the children of both companies’ partners helped lay the groundwork for a merger

June 10 (Reuters) – Davis Wright Tremaine will merge with financial services law firm McGonigle on July 1, adding offices in Chicago and Richmond, Virginia, to its national footprint.

McGonigle’s 44 attorneys, based in Washington, D.C., will join Davis Wright’s banking, securities and financial services practice, which will more than double in size, the firms said in a statement Friday.

The merger appears to be the largest announced by a major law firm so far in 2022, amid a slowdown in firm merger activity over the past two years.

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The combination will give Seattle-based Davis Wright, which has 550 attorneys, its first Midwest office in Chicago. The move will also add 22 attorneys to Davis Wright’s existing office in Washington and 15 to its New York office, the firms said. Four McGonigle lawyers are expected to work from the Richmond outpost for the combined firm, they said.

Davis Wright’s attorneys are known for their work in consumer banking, fintech and payments, while McGonigal is well-versed in securities, commodities, white-collar and government enforcement, said said Bradford Hardin, partner at Davis Wright.

Hardin will serve as co-chair of the firm’s new banking, financial and securities practice group alongside McGonigle chairwoman Elizabeth Lan Davis.

“We have worked for years to expand our capabilities in the securities space because our clients demand it,” Hardin said.

The merger moved fairly quickly with informal talks beginning in mid-March, said Scott MacCormack, managing partner of Davis Wright. Davis Wright’s partner, Alexandra Steinberg Barrage, played matchmaker by reaching out to Elizabeth Davis, she said. Their sons attend the same school.

“I got a text from her out of the blue saying, ‘Are you interested in a business opportunity? ‘” Davis said.

There were just 14 corporate mergers completed in the first quarter of this year, down from the historical average of 22 in the first quarter over the past decade, according to data from consultancy Fairfax Associates.

But there’s reason to believe mergers will pick up now that law firm executives are better able to have face-to-face meetings and spend more time on long-term planning, Lisa Smith said. , consultant at Fairfax Associates.

“Interest in mergers never really waned, but activity did drop a bit due to the pandemic,” she said.

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Reporting by Karen Sloan

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