Atkinson & Archie, a Philadelphia law firm with a growing bond counsel business, announced last week it will merge today with Duane, Morris & Heckscher, another Philadelphia firm.

Nolan N. Atkinson, a founding partner, said the move will enable the minority-owned firm's 10 lawyers to better serve their growing list of clients.

Bond counsel work at Atkinson & Archie grew to $313 million in the first six months of 1991, from just $30 million in all of 1990, according to Securities Data Co./Bond Buyer. That pushed the firm's national ranking from 332 last year to 63 so far in 1991.

"Due to our size and the specialized needs of our clients in today's changing economy, we have been unable to service the needs of our clients as fully as we would like," Mr. Atkinson said in explaining the merger.

Duanne Morris handles very little bond business, with just one $ 7.8 million issue in 1990 and no deals so far this year.

Robert L. Archie, also a founding member, said in a statement announcing the merger that the move will enhance the commitment of attorneys at both firms to the goal of expanding opportunities for minorities in the bond profession.

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