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Patton Boggs in talks with global firm Squire Sanders

Casey Sullivan
Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014 | 3:11 PM ET

Feb 26 (Reuters) - The Washington law and lobbying firm Patton Boggs is in merger talks with the larger global firm Squire Sanders, Squire Sanders announced on Wednesday.

The discussions come only a few months after the collapse of merger talks between Patton Boggs and the Texas-based law firm Locke Lord.

The 1,300-lawyer Squire Sanders has 39 offices worldwide. Its clients include Barclays Plc, BP, DuPont, GE and Boeing Co, according to its website.

Patton Boggs, with about 400 lawyers, is known for its lobbying on Capitol Hill and, most recently, its representation of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie amid the George Washington Bridge scandal.

Squire Sanders Chairman James Maiwurm did not respond to a request for comment. Nor did a Patton Boggs spokesman or the firm's managing partner, Edward Newberry.

In October, Reuters reported that Patton Boggs was in discussions with Locke Lord in Texas, which has more than 650 lawyers and consultants, but the talks collapsed by December.

Two sources close to Patton Boggs said at the time that Locke Lord had reservations about an ongoing legal battle between Patton Boggs and Chevron Corp over a multibillion-dollar environmental judgment against the oil giant in Ecuador.

Squire Sanders' announcement characterized the merger discussions as "preliminary."

A source with knowledge of the talks who requested anonymity said that any merger between the two firms would be difficult to achieve given the recent turmoil at Patton Boggs.

Patton Boggs has been dealing with financial struggles over the past two years after seeing a number of cases settle, including the defense of New York City amid claims arising from contractors who suffered while responding to the 9/11 attacks.

In January, the firm reported to partners that 2013 revenue was $278 million, a 14 percent drop from $218 million in 2012, according to an analysis of figures in an internal memo obtained by Reuters.