Cozen O’Connor has entered Pittsburgh with a bang, reeling in key partners from one of the Steel City’s three largest firms, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, and announcing bold plans to ultimately grow the location to more than 50 lawyers.
But being that several Philadelphia firms have had Pittsburgh offices for years and none have exceeded 40 lawyers, CEO Michael Heller’s vision seems ambitious.
“We would like to see real estate, intellectual property and energy lawyers, so we expect this to be a big, full-service office for us,” Heller told the Pittsburgh Business Times. “The Pittsburgh market has really changed over the last few years. It’s in the middle of a renaissance, led by meds and eds, and now is a great time for us to jump in.”
Cozen starts with seven Pittsburgh lawyers from Buchanan — and another 10 in Philadelphia and Wilmington — led by Jeremy Garvey and brothers Thomas and Eugene Giotto. It joins 10 others from Philadelphia that are among Pittsburgh’s 60 largest law firms. Three of those firms are large insurance defense litigation firms who need offices in various jurisdictions across the state to represent carriers. The remaining seven are among Philadelphia’s largest full-service firms and their reasons for planting flags in Pittsburgh are varied as has their level of success in growing there.
Veteran Pittsburgh legal recruiter Lori Carpenter said many Philadelphia firms have entered Pittsburgh with grand plans yet the ones that have flourished have something in common.
“Pittsburgh has a lot of lawyers but it’s a close knit community,” Carpenter said. “You have to have a valid reason for entering the market and then someone local to explain to local companies what differentiates you from the pack. You need to articulate a vision and how that fits with the firm. You don’t want the office to be viewed as just an outpost for a Philadelphia firm. That’s when Pittsburgh lawyers shy away.”
Read More: Cozen O'Connor looks to make good on ambitious plans for Pittsburgh - by Jeff Blumenthal, Philadelphia Business Journal