A surge in the number of hostile takeovers in the first half of last year sent companies scurrying to their lawyers, looking for ways to ward off would-be raiders. "We're having a lot of conversations with companies who want to know what they can do if they get an approach from someone and don't want to be taken over," says Soren Lindstrom, a partner in the corporate practice with law firm Baker Botts LLP in Dallas. "It's very much on people's minds."
The harsh reality: It's not as easy to mount a corporate defense as it used to be. Activist shareholders have been busy tearing down formerly commonplace tools of the trade, like poison pills and staggered boards,