Hale Lane, Denver firm to combine forces
Hale Lane needed to muscle up as its business clients required an increasingly diverse plate of legal services.
Denver’s Holland & Hart wanted to boost its presence in Nevada.
The upshot: The two firms last week announced a merger that will create the fourth-largest law firm in Nevada. Financial and other terms weren’t disclosed.
The transaction, which has been in serious negotiation for about nine months, wasn’t the first proposed to Reno-based Hale Lane Peek Dennison and Howard, said Tim Lukas, managing shareholder of the firm.
The firm, Lukas said, had been approached by other suitors and had considered a few acquisitions of its own.
But in the end, Lukas said shareholders of Hale Lane agreed to a combination with Holland & Hart for an old-fashioned reason: Principals of the two firms felt comfortable with one another.
“Every time we had a meeting with Holland & Hart, we went away saying, ‘We could go to work with those guys tomorrow,'” said Lukas.
The feeling was mutual. John Husband, chairman of Holland & Hart’s management committee, said a good philosophical fit was just as important as a good business fit as his company completed its due diligence.
With the combination, the firm to be branded as Holland & Hart LLP will have 63 attorneys in Reno, Carson City and Las Vegas.
Holland & Hart opened an office in Las Vegas in 2006 and opened a small Reno office that specializes in intellectual property issues in 2007.
Lukas will head up the Reno and Carson City offices of the combined firm. The firm’s Reno office will continue to be at 5441 Kietzke Lane in Mountain View Corporate Centre.
He said Hale Lane was motivated by a desire to grow its services and increase its geographic footprint. The firm has employed 50 lawyers.
Founded in Reno in 1971 by Edward Everett Hale, the company got its start handling real estate transactions. From that base, it added business law, a regulatory group, a bankruptcy group, a litigation team and estate planning services.
Its business clients include lenders, developers, and publicly and privately held companies.
But Lukas said clients’ legal needs are expanding and growing more complex. Protection of intellectual property, for instance, is a growing area in which Hale Lane hadn’t developed a practice.
With its combination with Hale Lane, Holland & Hart now has 415 attorneys working in 14 offices throughout seven Western states. The firm also has an office at Washington, D.C.
Holland & Hart, which dates from 1947, is the largest law firm headquartered in the Mountain West.
The combination of Hale Lane with Holland & Hart is part of a merger trend involving northern Nevada law firms.
The Carson City firm of Crowell, Susich, Tackes & Griffin Ltd. was merged into the Las Vegas firm of Kummer Kaempfer Bonner Renshaw and Ferrario about two years ago.
More recently, Sierra Patent Group Ltd., a Minden firm active in intellectual property issues, was merged into Lewis and Roca, which is headquartered at Phoenix.
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