Ballard Spahr is combining with Minneapolis-based Lindquist & Vennum, the two firms announced Tuesday.

The combined firm will operate under the name Ballard Spahr, and will have more than 650 lawyers across 15 offices. The deal makes Ballard Spahr one of the five largest Philadelphia-based law firms by head count, according to The National Law Journal's rankings of the largest U.S. law firms.

Lindquist & Vennum, which has about 150 lawyers, focuses on corporate M&A, finance and litigation matters, working largely with middle-market companies. The firm has offices in Minneapolis, Denver and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

For Ballard Spahr, the merger adds two offices and expands the firm's longtime presence in Denver. The Minneapolis office will be Ballard Spahr's largest outside Philadelphia.

But geography wasn't a driving factor in the combination, Ballard Spahr chairman Mark Stewart said Tuesday.

"We have for some time been committed to deepening our business and finance practice," Stewart said. "This offers us a very deep, well-known and highly regarded mergers and acquisitions and private equity group."

Lindquist & Vennum managing partner Dennis O'Malley will now be part of Ballard Spahr's executive team, Stewart said, and a partner from Lindquist & Vennum will also join the compensation committee. In the one market where both firms are present, Denver, the Lindquist & Vennum lawyers will move into Ballard Spahr's existing office.

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