Can good business intelligence analysis affect a large firm merger? We may find out if Bryan Cave and Squire Sanders merge – a possibility reported earlier this week. 

Bryan Cave may be looking at merger (12/20/05) reports that “St. Louis law firm Bryan Cave LLP is in merger talks with Cleveland-based Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP, according to a trade publication.”

I’ve written about the very sophisticated and useful business intelligence program at Bryan Cave. In a merger, it would be interesting to see how the Bryan Cave tools would be applied. If Squire Sanders is like most other firms, I suspect that margins could be improved by systematically analyzing the business and adjusting staffing, rates, leverage, etc. Bryan Cave appears to be the legal market BI leader and any combined firm would likely benefit significantly from the tools and mindset Bryan Cave has developed.

For more on business intelligence at Bryan Cave, see another good article by John Alber. In ERPs or Data Warehouses for Law Firms? (published in LLRX), Alber addresses the question “whether the benefits of ERP outweigh the costs and risks for law firms” and answers it no.

The article provides a rich analysis of Enterprise Resource Planning systems and explains why simpler solutions – data warehouses – are better. This article is probably outside the comfort zone of many practicing lawyers. For lawyers who manage firms, however, it’s critical reading, not just because of costly technology implications, but also because of the insight it provides to the strategic imperative driving BI.

Udpate of 8/3/06: reports that Merger Talks Between Bryan Cave and Squire Sanders Fizzle Out