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By Casey Sullivan
May 23 (Reuters) - The merger of law firms Patton Boggs and Squire Sanders, which hit a snag on Thursday, was headed for a final vote on Friday, despite concerns about the role of Patton Boggs in the long-running dispute between Chevron Corp and a group of Ecuadorean villagers.
On Thursday morning, Squire Sanders halted a partnership vote after a lawyer for the villagers urged a judge to reconsider his acceptance of a settlement between Chevron and Patton Boggs to resolve claims that Patton Boggs tried to enforce a fraudulent $18 billion environmental judgment against the oil company.
But the vote was back on after Squire Sanders leaders concluded that the bid to block the settlement would not be an impediment to the merger, according to a memo from Patton Boggs managing partner Edward Newberry.
“We are working closely with Squire Sanders and they remain enthusiastic and committed to completing our proposed combination,” Newberry said in the memo to Patton Boggs partners circulated late Thursday night and obtained by Reuters.
Newberry said that after reviewing the motion, “Squire Sanders has reopened its voting and will close the vote (Friday) afternoon.”
Patton Boggs’ partners have already voted to approve the merger, according to the source close to the deal.
If approved, the new firm would be called Squire Patton Boggs, effective June 1, according to several people familiar with the deal.
The merger is widely viewed as a deal that would provide a way forward for the Patton, Boggs, a Washington, D.C., lobbying powerhouse whose revenue has dropped and whose partners defected over the last year.
Squire Sanders Chairman James Maiwurm and a firm spokesman did not respond to requests for comment. (Reporting By Casey Sullivan; Editing by Noeleen Walder, Eric Effron and Steve Orlofsky)