Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek CEO says merger ‘made a lot of sense’

Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek CEO Paul Eberle says its merger with a Kansas City law firm “made a lot of sense.”

The merger with Husch Blackwell will end the name of WHD, which was founded in 1943 and is one of the state’s leading law firms. But Eberle said it will expand his firm’s reach, with the merger placing the combined firm among the 100 largest in the country. The combined firm, when it launches in July, will have more than 700 lawyers and offices in 19 cities.

That means WHD will be “much more equipped” to help Wisconsin clients who have operations across the country, Eberle said. The firm currently has offices in Milwaukee, Waukesha County, Madison and Chicago, but it would now be able to better help a company with work in DC, Austin or St. Louis, for example.

“No cuts anticipated whatsoever,” Eberle said. “In fact, we’re planning for growth in all locations.”

It’s the latest merger in the country’s legal industry, which saw a record 91 combinations last year, according to Pennsylvania-base Altman Weil MergerLine. Those numbers, Altman Weil principal Ward Bower wrote in January, reflects “the intense competition among law firms for new work.”

WHD had been looking at a merger for months, Eberle said, as the firm was growing but realized it “needed to be doing more.” WHD leaders had conversations with about 20 different firms and picked Husch Blackwell because they had a similar mission and approach.

“We expect there’s going to be continued growth in all offices, all office leadership is continuing and, frankly, we’re going to attract more lawyers to the firm,” Eberle said.

See the announcement

— By Polo Rocha,