Fennemore to combine with 56-attorney California law firm

REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

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  • Fennemore will combine with Bay Area law firm Wendel Rosen
  • Wendel’s 56 lawyers, 45 legal professionals will join firm

(Reuters) – Midsize law firm Fennemore Craig said Tuesday it is combining with Bay Area firm Wendel Rosen, bringing on 56 lawyers in a deal effective July 1.

Phoenix-founded Fennemore will add three offices in Northern California, where the firm will be called Fennemore Wendel. The firm will remain Fennemore in other locations.

Law firm merger activity has slowed over the past two years, but there have been some signs it’s poised to recover.

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Large law firm Davis Wright Tremaine said last week it will merge with financial services law firm McGonigle, adding 44 lawyers.

Fennemore CEO and managing partner James Goodnow said the tie-up with Wendel helps fill in “missing gaps” in California by adding a presence in the northern part of the state. The firm sees opportunities to work with technology and emerging companies, and work in other areas like mergers and acquisitions and trust and estates, he said.

The firm recently added two offices in Southern California when hiring 25 lawyers from law firm Gresham Savage Nolan & Tilden in April. It also merged with 50-lawyer firm Dowling Aaron in Central California in 2020.

These moves are part of continued Western U.S. growth for Fennemore, which also scooped up seven lawyers from Denver litigation boutique Reilly in August 2021.

The combination, which will also give Fennemore 45 more business professionals, brings the firm to a total of 250 lawyers. Wendel brings capabilities in real estate, land use, litigation and trust and estates, Fennemore said.

Dan Rapaport, Wendel’s managing partner, said the firm was “limited in numbers” and it was difficult to recruit and compete for talent with bigger firms.

Large law firms have been opening new offices or growing in Northern California, and there are other homegrown firms in the region. Goodnow said Fennemore’s lower price points can help it compete with established players for work with Bay Area companies.

Read more:

Davis Wright Tremaine to absorb financial services law firm McGonigle

Fennemore poaches 25 California attorneys in ongoing westward push

Fennemore scoops up Denver boutique, keeping up Western expansion

Fennemore inks California merger in pandemic era’s biggest law firm combination

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Sara Merken

Thomson Reuters

Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at sara.merken@thomsonreuters.com

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