Recently, law firm merger numbers have risen in the United States – up 79 percent from the month of January to the month of September. According to a recent survey by legal consulting firm Altman Weil, there were 43 transactions involving significant mergers and acquisitions among firms in the first 9 months of 2011, up from 24 during the same 9 months last year. One contributing factor to such dynamic growth is the United States economy has shown signs of improvement after one of the toughest economic downturns since the Depression.

“During the recession and in the immediate aftermath of the recession, firms were in what I’m going to call a ’survival mode,’ not a strategy mode,” Ward Bower, the Altman Weil principal said. “Now that the economy has grown, they’re dusting off their strategies.” This is certainly encouraging, and perhaps one of the best indicators that firms and consumers are regaining their confidence.

Another strategic objective driving the increase in mergers is the desire of many firms to grow geographically and expand their presence at home and abroad. While individuals are still willing to move of or when the right opportunity arises, many of these moves involve whole practices or niche groups that focus on a particular industry.