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Hildebrandt Internationalís MERGERWATCH


SOMSERSET, NJ, 01/11/2006, Law firm merger activity remained strong in 2005 with 49 total completed mergers and acquisitions involving US law firms, up two from 47 in 2004, according to Hildebrandt International, leading consultants to the legal industry.

The key trend relative to 2004 was that the average size of mergers increased. The average size of the smaller firm increased from 30 in 2004 to 67 attorneys in 2005. The largest merger of 2005 was the combination of DLA, Piper Rudnick, and Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich, creating a transatlantic firm of approximately 3,000 attorneys. The second largest merger of 2005 was Pillsbury Winthrop with Shaw Pittman, creating of firm of approximately 900 attorneys. Rounding out the top mergers were Edwards & Angell with Palmer & Dodge, Squire Sanders & Dempsey with Steel Hector & Davis, Ropes & Gray with Fish & Neave, and Kirkpatrick & Lockhart with Nicholson Graham & Jones.

There were a significant number of US firms involved in cross-border mergers in 2005. The largest were the combination of Piper Rudnick Gray Cary with London-based DLA and Kirkpatrick & Lockhart with London-based Nicholson Graham & Jones. Later in the year, DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary acquired the Russian and CIS practice of Ernst & Young Law, Cozen OíConnor merged with Torontoís Poss & Halfnight, Howrey Simon Arnold & White merged with Paris intellectual property boutique Cabinet Couste & Couste, and Squire Sanders & Dempsey combined with Warsaw firm Wiater Law Office.

Domestically, New York and California remained the strongest inbound markets. In New York City, there were a total of 8 mergers. The largest New York merger involved Ropes & Gray and IP firm Fish & Neave. All 6 California mergers involved out-of-state firms entering or expanding in the market, and all but one took place in Northern California.

Following the trend of previous years, the largest number of mergers were effective in the first quarter of the year, most with January 1 effective dates, and decreased in each subsequent quarter. There were 20 mergers in the first quarter of 2005, 16 in the second quarter, 8 in the third quarter, and 5 in the fourth quarter.

Twelve mergers have already been announced that will be effective in the first quarter of 2006. These include Bingham McCutchen with Swidler Berlin and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe with Paris firm Rambaud Martel.

PLEASE NOTE: MERGERWATCH collects data from published reports, press releases and direct reports from law firms. We include all mergers where the acquired firm has five or more lawyers. Upon routine verification of the data, some historical numbers have been updated since previously issued reports, and the number of mergers contained herein may change as additional mergers are announced.

About Hildebrandt International

Hildebrandt International, a business within The Thomson Corporation (NYSE: TOC; TSX: TOC), is a multidisciplinary consulting firm, helping professional service organizations plan, implement and achieve their management and strategic goals. The company, with more than 50 consultants located in six offices in the United States (Washington, DC; Chicago; San Francisco; New Jersey; Connecticut; and Florida) as well as in London is the undisputed leader in providing strategic advice, managerial guidance and implementation support to these organizations. For more information visit

About The Thomson Corporation

The Thomson Corporation ( ), with 2004 revenues of $8.10 billion, is a global leader in providing integrated information solutions to business and professional customers. Thomson provides value-added information, software tools and applications to more than 20 million users in the fields of law, tax, accounting, financial services, higher education, reference information, corporate e-learning and assessment, scientific research and healthcare. With operational headquarters in Stamford, Conn., Thomson has approximately 40,000 employees and provides services in approximately 130 countries. The Corporationís common shares are listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges (NYSE: TOC; TSX: TOC).


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