5 Law Firm Merger Trends

According to data from Altman Weil’s MergerLine TM, the legal industry has averaged 80 law firm mergers per year since 2013. The ongoing volatile legal market means more law firm merger activity will continue to occur. The vast majority of acquisitions are of law firms with 20 lawyers or less. Based on the data from Altman Weil’s MergerLine TM, here are 5 law firm merger trends:

  1. RECORD NUMBER OF LAW FIRM ACQUISITIONS IN 2017. The record for number of law firm mergers was set in 2017 with 102.

  2. ON PACE TO ECLIPSE THAT 2017 ACQUISITION RECORD IN 2018. Through the 3rd Quarter of 2018 there have already been 79 law firm mergers in 2018. That puts the legal industry on pace to surpass the 2017 record.

  3. THE AVERAGE SIZE OF ACQUIRED FIRMS IS LESS THAN 32 LAWYERS. The average size of law firms acquired in 2017 was 27 lawyers. The average size of law firms acquired through the 3rd Quarter is 31 lawyers.

  4. 80% OF ACQUISITIONS IN 2017 HAD 20 LAWYERS OR LESS AT THE ACQUIRED LAW FIRM. 55% of mergers in 2017 had between 2-5 lawyers at the acquired firm. 25% of mergers in 2017 had between 6-20 lawyers at the acquired firm.

  5. 78% OF ACQUISITIONS IN 2018 HAVE HAD 20 LAWYERS OR LESS AT THE ACQUIRED LAW FIRM. Through the 3rd Quarter of 2018, 34% of mergers have had between 2-5 lawyers at the acquired firm. 44% had between 6-20 lawyers at the acquired firm.