Just because an elite Biglaw firm has backed out of a merger, it doesn’t mean that growth isn’t on the firm’s mind.
Hogan Lovells recently reelected Miguel Zaldivar as its CEO, and he says the firm may still have the urge to merge — but only under certain circumstances. You may recall that the firm — which brought in $2,432,000,000 gross revenue in 2022, putting it at No. 12 in the Am Law 100 — pulled out of a rumored merger with Shearman & Sterling back in March, and that seems to have colored Zaldivar’s thoughts on any future merger plans. Here’s more from the American Lawyer, which interviewed Zaldivar on the eve of his reelection:
“Do we need a merger? No,” Zaldivar said…. “I’m a business lawyer, though, and if we find opportunities that enhance our offering in those markets … and are aligned with our vision and strategy, it would be irresponsible to not consider it.”
Zaldivar went on to say that if a firm shares Hogan Lovells’ vision of providing legal services in highly regulated sectors and doesn’t come with significant financial baggage, “we’re open to talking.”
“I’m not going to do it with a firm that would compromise our financial position,” Zaldivar said. “I don’t want to talk to firms that have huge pension commitments or revenue drops because of partner departures or that are suffering in branding recognition. We would like to be opportunistic and associate ourselves with winners.”
Hogan Lovells has very high standards when it comes to prospective merger partners, and losers need not apply. (Absolutely no shade to Shearman, of course.) Under Zaldivar’s leadership, the firm has reached the highest of financial heights, and he wants to make sure Hogan Lovells keeps winning without being dragged down by a firm that’s struggling.
“We are having an outstanding year,” he told Am Law, when speaking about the firm’s 2023 financial forecast. “It’s a year when every single practice group and every single region is seeing growth in demand, revenue and realized rate.”
So, where is Hogan Lovells looking to see growth? Am Law has the details:
[F]irm leaders would like to expand the firm’s business in some of the most competitive U.S. markets for legal services that align with the firm’s focus on sectors with high regulation: namely financial services, mobility and transportation, life sciences and health care, technology and energy.
“We’re very serious about growing in New York, California and Texas,” he said.
Congratulations to Miguel Zaldivar on his reappointment as CEO. His second term as the firm’s leader will begin July 2024 and conclude in 2028.
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter and Threads or connect with her on LinkedIn.