Swiss Re Insurance-Linked Fund Management

Original Risk: A Society for Change Agents

Re/insurance law firms Locke Lord and Edwards Wildman to merge


Two of the larger law firms with practices targeting the insurance, reinsurance and insurance-linked securities (ILS) markets have signed a letter of intent to merge to create a new, larger firm that would be named Locke Lord Edwards LLP.

Law firm consolidation has been something that we typically expect to see every few years, as with any industry the scale and reach matters and mergers allow firms to pick up new practice specialties, while growing their dominance in areas they already practice in.

The management of the two law firms have signed a letter of intent to merge, with the resulting firm if the merger goes ahead having over 1,000 lawyers in more than 23 countries around the world. The combined firm would have gross revenues of around $675m and this would place it in the top 50 U.S. law firms, alone both firms are already in the top 100.

The merger is subject to the negotiation and execution of mutually acceptable transaction documents as well as gaining partner approval. If approved, the combination of the two firms would occur in early 2015, with Locke Lord’s Chair Jerry Clements serving as Chair of the new firm.

“We are excited about the possibilities of a combination that would tie together two strong firms with excellent reputations and a focus on providing clients with a broad range of legal services to meet their increasingly complex needs around the globe,” commented Clements. “Our two firms share many similarities – exceptional and well-respected lawyers; a wide geographical footprint in the United States and abroad; and highly regarded practices, including energy, private equity, insurance and reinsurance, intellectual property, litigation, real estate, health care, technology and finance. We will spend the next few months working on details and introductions, and hopefully be able to move forward together in a way that offers increasing breadth and depth to our clients. Both firms have been through a number of successful combinations, but we think this one opens the door for something truly transformational.”

“Our firms complement each other very well, and the newly combined firm will put us in a better position to offer solid experience across a broader range of practices and industries from offices located throughout the United States, Europe and Asia,” added Edwards Wildman’s Managing Partner Alan Levin, who would serve as one of the Vice Chairs in the new firm. “It was critical that we find a firm similar to us not only in its commitment to client service, but also in culture and vision, as well as a shared commitment to diversity and community involvement. Locke Lord has all of those attributes, and more.”

Both of these lawfirms are known for insurance and reinsurance litigation, regulatory and transactional work and both have experience in the insurance-linked securities (ILS) and catastrophe bond arena. The combined entity will no doubt see the ILS sector as a growing area that, in particular, the transactional legal advice and drafting expertise can be put to good use.

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