Thursday, December 09, 2004

What do mergers really mean to the industry?

Is merger mania still alive and well? The recent UK/US merger creates one of the world's largest law firms with more than 2,700 lawyers. This merger came on the heels of the Piper-Gray Cary deal in October and got me thinking about how mergers affect those other then the lawyers.

In the legal technology vendor community, there has been mass consolidation over the last few years, which has mirrored the trend for law firms to consolidate and merge. The vendor consolidation, in my opinion, has yielded mixed results as far as the benefit to the law firms who purchases these products and services. One thing is for sure, there are fewer options then ever for several major product lines and a couple companies are bordering on a monopoly at the rate they are going.

While law firm mergers look great on paper and in the press, they invariably cut jobs, many in the IT arena. I know of several very talents CIOs that are out of work simply because they were the smaller of two firms merging.

While law firms and technology vendors can't worry about these issues, a by-product of mergers and consolidation is less choice and job opportunities.

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