The Texas Lawbook’s Corporate Deal Tracker identifies two ways law firms are involved in M&A activity: (1) As the lead law firm representing the buyers or the sellers and (2) law firms that represent a third party, such as an investment bank, financial advisor or conflicts committee.
The legal advisors for the buyers and sellers make the big bucks by working the most billable hours, but those representing the third parties take home a good chunk of change, too.
Last week, The Lawbook unveiled the Corporate Deal Tracker’s rankings for law firms whose Texas lawyers led mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures during the first three quarters of 2021. You can see that article here.
Today, The Lawbook reports on the law firms that had lawyers from their Texas offices who did significant work on all transactions, including those in which the Texas lawyers were not the lead advisors for the buyers or sellers. We refer to this category as “non-leads.”
A key reason for a nonlead role is that a firm’s Texas office may have lawyers with specific expertise or experience in a specific kind of transaction and is brought in by firm lawyers in different offices to help — an increasingly familiar
Kirkland & Ellis, which ranked No. 1 among the lead lawyers, also topped the overall CDT M&A legal advisors chart. Kirkland’s Texas lawyers were the lead on 94 transactions but worked on an additional 21 deals in which they were not the lead during the first nine months of this year for a total of 115 transactions with a total price tag of $63.8 billion. The CDT shows that 18% of Kirkland were non-leads.
But the big news was Sidley Austin, which ranked fourth on the CDT lead law firms chart with 48 deals. The CDT shows that Sidley’s lawyers in Texas were involved in 56 transactions in which they either represented a third party (financial advisor or conflicts committee) or a Sidley partner in an office outside of Texas led the deal.
Overall, Sidley lawyers in Texas worked on 104 deals with a combined value of $103.46 billion, ranking the Chicago-founded firm first in deal value and second in deal count. Fifty-four percent of Sidley’s transactions in the CDT were non-leads.
Houston-based Vinson & Elkins saw its lawyers work on a total of 89 transactions valued at $76.2 billion during the first three quarters of 2021. Twenty-eight of those 89 V&E’s deals were either led by V&E attorneys outside of Texas or were matters in which V&E represented a third party. Thirty-one percent of V&E’s deals in the CDT were non-leads.
The Texas lawyers at Latham & Watkins worked on 53 transactions between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30. One-fourth of Latham’s deals in the CDT were non-leads.
Houston-headquartered Baker Botts lawyers in Texas were also non-leads on 24% of their deals in the CDT data. Texas lawyers for Baker Botts were leads in 31 matters during the first three quarters of 2021 and played significant supporting roles in an additional 10 transactions.