Report: Patton Boggs in merger talks

The top lobby firm in Washington is reportedly in talks to merge with a larger law firm.

Patton Boggs is discussing joining forces with Lock Lord, according to Reuters. Such a move would send shock waves through Washington’s legal community, and provides yet another sign that one of the capital’s premier law firms is facing tough times.

Patton Boggs declined to comment on the merger speculation, but told The Hill the firm is always looking for ways to better serve its clients.

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“As a firm policy, we don’t discuss rumors or speculation. All firms that recognize the rapidly changing landscape for the legal profession should be looking for ways to improve their platform for their partners and to better serve their clients, and Patton Boggs is no different,” the firm said in a statement.

“We are constantly evaluating ways to improve our platform and the way that we provide legal services. If we find a combination that accomplishes these goals, we would have an announcement if and when we pursue it.”

Locke Lord responded in kind, saying it too looks for “growth opportunities.”

“Locke Lord never affirms or denies any speculation about potential laterals or potential mergers. In line with our strategic plan, we regularly look at growth opportunities that would benefit our firm and our clients, but we do not comment one way or the other,” said Julie Gilbert, a spokeswoman for Locke Lord.

Patton Boggs rules over K Street, posting top lobbying revenue figures quarter after quarter. That revenue has declined recently, however, with the firm reporting $30.7 million for the first three quarters of 2013, down from the $35.2 million at that point last year.

The firm also had a round of downsizing earlier this year, laying off 65 employees, including 23 in its Washington office. Patton Boggs also saw 17 partners leave the firm, with some going to rival Holland & Knight.

Patton Boggs has also locked horns with oil giant Chevron in a huge litigation battle that has drawn on the firm’s time and resources.