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Lindquist, Oppenheimer firms talking merger

  • Article by: Neal St. Anthony
  • Star Tribune
  • August 1, 2014 - 8:59 PM

Two more Twin Cities law firms are in merger talks.

Lindquist & Vennum, which has 173 lawyers, confirmed “preliminary discussions” with Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly, a firm with 91 lawyers.

In a statement late Friday, the firms say they believe a merger “could serve their clients’ interests by concentrating areas of expertise and expanding the breadth and depth of their services.’’

A spokeswoman said it could take weeks to months before the deliberations might lead to a vote of the partners. She declined to elaborate on specific issues driving the talks.

There is recent precedent for mergers in an industry that was buffeted by the Great Recession and where corporate clients want firms to economically offer all the services they want at competitive prices, wherever they do business.

In January, Leonard, Street and Deinard of Minneapolis merged with the Kansas City, Mo., firm of Stinson Morrison Hecker to become a 520-attorney firm. The new firm, which became official on Jan. 1, is known as Stinson Leonard Street.

That merger also dovetailed with a national trend among midsize firms that seek to get bigger in order to compete with large firms. And the big regional firms have gone national.

The two-year-old Faegre Baker Daniels merged established firms in Minneapolis and Indianapolis into what became a 775-attorney firm with a global reach.

However, merging two law firms can be dicey unless there is a cultural fit and the top dogs agree to leadership posts among different practice groups, Herbert Kritzer, a University of Minnesota law professor who teaches the business of law, told the Star Tribune earlier this year.

Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144

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