By: Ronalda Smith



On November 10, 2016, Arnold & Porter LLP and Kaye Scholer LLP announced the two firms will be joining forces effective January 1, 2017, becoming Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP.[1] This deal will potentially allow the joint top-tier firm to dominate in many sectors of law.

Arnold & Porter opened in 1946 in Washington, DC as Arnold and Fortas, named after the firm’s founders, Thurman Arnold and Abe Fortas.[2] Paul Porter, former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), joined the firm in 1947.[3] Years later, Abe Fortas was appointed by the Supreme Court to argue the appeal in the landmark case, Gideon v. Wainwright.[4] He later went on to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.[5] Today, Arnold and Porter LLP is a dynamic international law firm with over 700 attorneys spread across nine offices in the Unites States and Europe.[6] The firm consists of some of the best attorneys in America and Europe and has been recognized as one of the best in the industry.[7] It is also the former home of U.S. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland, who was recently nominated by President Obama to the U.S. Supreme Court.[8]

Founded in 1917 in New York City, Kaye Scholer is well-versed in the key sectors of financial services and life sciences.[9] Kaye Scholer counsels “public and private entities in litigation, transactional [and] governance matters.”[10] The firm has represented some of the most prominent entities in the industry, including JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch and Time Warner Cable.[11] Kaye Scholer has approximately 375 lawyers and is a force to be reckoned within the U.S. and abroad.[12] While Kaye Scholer is the smaller firm of the two, it is not to be underestimated and definitely holds its own in Biglaw.

The merger of the two powerhouses has been in the works for approximately a year.[13] In May of 2016, Arnold & Porter stated that they had been looking for a merger partner for two years and had considered Kaye Scholer on a couple of occasions.[14] Each firm had seen drops in revenue as well as profits in recent years.[15] However, the combined financial resources of the new firm will allow it to compete with other Biglaw firms and gain access to a greater market, as the clientele of each firm will also merge. After the merger, the new firm will consist of approximately 1,000 lawyers, nine domestic and four international offices.[16] In Washington, DC alone, the firm will be home to around 400 attorneys.[17]

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP will surely dominate in an ever-changing industry. The merger will definitely strike the interest of other firms that may be having some of the same financial issues. However, it leads to the question of how partners of each firm will respond to this merger. While each firm is very successful in its own right, partners at Arnold & Porter may feel their name is more prestigious. The announcement may come as a surprise to come associates in each firm. In regards to employment opportunities, the merger could present the need for more associates in smaller firm locations, but it could also result in potential layoffs in support staff in cities where each firm previously held offices. Time can only tell how successful the merger will be; Nevertheless, law students and lawyers from all around should definitely pay close attention to Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP.



[1] Arnold & Porter and Kaye Scholer Announce Combination, Arnold & Porter (Nov. 10 2016),

[2] Our History, Arnold & Porter LLP, Arnold & Porter, (last visited Nov. 15, 2016).

[3] Id.

[4] Abe Krash, Sounding the Trumpet: The Gideon Case, Arnold & Porter, (1996),–the-gideon-case.

[5] Sara Randazzo, Law Firms Arnold & Porter, Kaye Scholer Set to Combine, The Wall Street Journal, (Nov. 10, 2016, 10:00 AM),

[6] About the Firm, Arnold & Porter LLP, (last visited Nov. 13, 2016).

[7] Id.

[8] Randazzo, supra note 6.

[9] About Us, Kaye Scholer LLP, (last visited Nov. 13, 2016).

[10] Id.

[11] Id.

[12] Randazzo, supra note 6.

[13] David Lat, Two New York and D.C. Powerhouses, Arnold & Porter and Kaye Scholer, Agree to Merge, Above the Law, (Nov. 10, 2016),

[14] Id.

[15] Id.; see also supra note 6.

[16] See supra note 1.

[17] Id.

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