The National Law Journal (May 9, 2005 at 15) reported that when Oracle completed its acquisition of PeopleSoft, “almost all of PeopleSoft’s 50-lawyer legal department” was laid off. I also heard that when Allied-Signal bought Honeywell, senior management told the merged company’s General counsel (Peter Kriendler) that the combined department’s budget would be the amount spent by the department that had spent more – significant layoffs must have followed. Two aerospace acquisitions I know of shrank the acquired law departments from 69 lawyers to 33, a bit more than a fifty percent reduction.
Other mergers cut less deeply. When El Paso Energy acquired Coastal, I recall the layoffs were less than a third of Coastal’s lawyers. The hard facts are that being acquired is likely to put most of the target company’s lawyers at risk.