Cozen and Wolf enter talks to create 800-lawyer Philly force

Philadelphia firms Cozen O’Connor and Wolf Block Schorr & Solis-Cohen are in merger talks to create Pennsylvania’s largest legal presence.

Although the state is home to other sizeable firms such as Duane Morris and Drinker Biddle, a combination between 500-lawyer Cozens and 300-lawyer Wolf Block would give them the most Pennsylvania-based lawyers at one firm, with 370.

The talks are in an early stage. Wolf Block chairman Mark Alderman said: “We are hardly done. But there is serious interest on both sides.”

Whilst Cozens generates far more revenue than Wolf Block, the two firms’ profits per equity partner are similar, at $470,000 (£242,000) at Cozens, and $450,000 (£231,000) at Wolf Block.

Cozens’ revenue stands at $220.5m (£113m), allowing the firm to just make it into the list of America’s 100 biggest firms. As well as 22 US offices, including a 71-lawyer presence in New York, Cozens also has a nominal international offering, with six lawyers in London and three in Toronto.

A tie-up between the two firms would significantly boost their New York offerings, pushing the number of lawyers in the most competitive legal market in America to above 100, still small by New York standards.

Meanwhile, eight-office Wolf Block has revenues of $145m (£74.5m). It has real estate, tax and structured finance practices that Cozens is interested in, while Cozens is most known for its insurance work, boasting clients such as AIG, Chubb Insurance and St. Pauls.