Some would argue that it’s been a tough year for the prominent patent law firm, Fish & Neave. The firm has fought what appears to have been a losing battle to keep its identity.
First, the firm suffered through the agonies of being a victim of "identity theft by employee," with the attendant negative publicity.
Now, the firm will have its 125-year-old identity swallowed up by Boston’s Ropes & Gray, in a merger that, at least for now, will create the 8th largest firm in the country.
This merger is the latest in the large law firm merger fad of 2004. I’ll join the list of people who are baffled by these types of mergers and wonder what benefits that they will bring to lawyers in either firm or their clients in the long run. Presumably, however, the combined IT department will have a strong commitment to computer security.
The Blawg Channel’s Marty Schwimmer asks good questions about this type of merger here and here. Philip Mann has a more detailed and hard-hitting analysis here.
I’ll simply suggest that we all check to see how many lawyers stay with the merged firm for more than a year. Losing your identity once in a year is bad enough, but losing it twice is a terrible thing.