Cozen, Wolf Block in talks to create Philly powerhouse

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 & Reath, a combination between 500-lawyer Cozen and 300-lawyer Wolf Block would give them the most Pennsylvania-based lawyers at one firm, with 370.

The talks are at an early stage. Wolf Block chairman Mark Alderman said: “We’re hardly done, but there’s serious interest on both sides.”

While Cozen generates far more revenue than Wolf Block, the two firms’ average profit per equity partner figures are similar, with $470,000 (£242,000) at Cozen and $450,000 (£231,000) at Wolf Block. Cozen’s revenue last year was $220.5m (£113m).

As well as 22 US offices, Cozen also has a nominal international offering, with six lawyers in London and three in Toronto.

A tie-up would boost significantly the firms’ New York offerings, pushing the number of lawyers in the US’s most competitive legal market above 100, albeit this is still small by New York standards.

Eight-office Wolf Block has a revenue of $145m (£74.5m). It has real estate, tax and structured finance practices that interest Cozen, while Cozen is most known for its insurance work, boasting clients such as AIG, Chubb Insurance and St Pauls.