(Courtesy photo)

Six months after launching a practice group focused on prevention of and response to institutional misconduct, Cozen O’Connor has acquired a campus safety consulting firm.

The law firm has acquired Margolis Healy & Associates, a Vermont-based consulting business with a staff of 16 that focuses on campus safety, security and regulatory compliance. The combination was borne out of a longtime working relationship with partners Gina Maisto Smith and Leslie Gomez, who joined Cozen O’Connor in February and launched its institutional response practice.

Gary Margolis and Steven Healy, who previously led law enforcement efforts at University of Vermont and Princeton University, founded Margolis Healy & Associates in 2008. Since then, they have been closely involved in higher education cases involving the U.S. Department of Education Clery Act and Title IX compliance. Their services include assessments of campus safety, emergency management and crisis response, litigation consultation and special investigations or independent reviews.

That focus “dovetails” with the work of Cozen O’Connor’s institutional response practice group, Smith and Gomez said.

“We found ourselves working side by side very frequently,” Smith said. “They have the same holistic approach to these issues.”

Smith and Gomez joined Cozen O’Connor in February from Pepper Hamilton, along with partner Megan Traversari and counsel Lauren Carella. Partner Maureen Holland moved to Cozen O’Connor from Hamburg & Golden at the same time. The move allowed them to create an individual practice group, rather than serving their clients within the structure of a white-collar, higher education or civil litigation practice. The group added partner John DiPaolo, a former deputy general counsel for the U.S. Department of Education, in June, and is planning to announce another hire in the near future, Gomez said.

Smith and Gomez met Margolis and Healy in 2011, they said, and they worked together for the first time in late 2012.

“They have the same lifelong experience [we have] that informed the view of what they did,” Gomez said. “It just felt like kindred spirits.”

They long talked about combining under one business, Smith said, and that became a real possibility when the lawyers moved to Cozen O’Connor. Healy said his company was interested in joining forces with the firm because of CEO Michael Heller’s “vision for expanding and growing what we do,” and the potential synergies with the firm’s new institutional response group.

The acquisition won’t change much about how they work together, Smith said, other than increasing the frequency of their collaborations.

Healy said he expects that both the firm and Margolis Healy will benefit from working with each others’ clients, though he acknowledged there is “significant overlap.” He works with higher education and K-12 institutions, he said, as well as some corporate clients.

“We are motivated and psyched by the possibilities around being able to merge forces and grow and help more institutions,” Healy said. “When you’re a small boutique firm like we were, that’s relatively limited.”

Smith and Gomez’s clients have included Baylor University, where they investigated the response to sexual assault allegations against football players; and University of Virginia, where they worked on campus policies and practices in response to a Rolling Stone article that made false claims of a sexual assault at the university. Other clients have included Amherst College, Occidental College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

In 2013, Margolis Healy opened the National Center for Campus Public Safety, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. They will continue to operate the center. Healy will also continue as the company’s CEO, and the subsidiary will remain based in Burlington, Vermont.

This subsidiary is not a first for Cozen O’Connor. The firm has two other affiliate companies—Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies, a bipartisan lobbying firm, and Legal Fee Solutions, which manages and disputes attorney fee issues for clients in the corporate, commercial, insurance and financial sectors.

Six months after launching a practice group focused on prevention of and response to institutional misconduct, Cozen O’Connor has acquired a campus safety consulting firm.

The law firm has acquired Margolis Healy & Associates, a Vermont-based consulting business with a staff of 16 that focuses on campus safety, security and regulatory compliance. The combination was borne out of a longtime working relationship with partners Gina Maisto Smith and Leslie Gomez, who joined Cozen O’Connor in February and launched its institutional response practice.

Gary Margolis and Steven Healy, who previously led law enforcement efforts at University of Vermont and Princeton University, founded Margolis Healy & Associates in 2008. Since then, they have been closely involved in higher education cases involving the U.S. Department of Education Clery Act and Title IX compliance. Their services include assessments of campus safety, emergency management and crisis response, litigation consultation and special investigations or independent reviews.

That focus “dovetails” with the work of Cozen O’Connor ‘s institutional response practice group, Smith and Gomez said.

“We found ourselves working side by side very frequently,” Smith said. “They have the same holistic approach to these issues.”

Smith and Gomez joined Cozen O’Connor in February from Pepper Hamilton , along with partner Megan Traversari and counsel Lauren Carella. Partner Maureen Holland moved to Cozen O’Connor from Hamburg & Golden at the same time. The move allowed them to create an individual practice group, rather than serving their clients within the structure of a white-collar, higher education or civil litigation practice. The group added partner John DiPaolo, a former deputy general counsel for the U.S. Department of Education, in June, and is planning to announce another hire in the near future, Gomez said.

Smith and Gomez met Margolis and Healy in 2011, they said, and they worked together for the first time in late 2012.

“They have the same lifelong experience [we have] that informed the view of what they did,” Gomez said. “It just felt like kindred spirits.”

They long talked about combining under one business, Smith said, and that became a real possibility when the lawyers moved to Cozen O’Connor . Healy said his company was interested in joining forces with the firm because of CEO Michael Heller’s “vision for expanding and growing what we do,” and the potential synergies with the firm’s new institutional response group.

The acquisition won’t change much about how they work together, Smith said, other than increasing the frequency of their collaborations.

Healy said he expects that both the firm and Margolis Healy will benefit from working with each others’ clients, though he acknowledged there is “significant overlap.” He works with higher education and K-12 institutions, he said, as well as some corporate clients.

“We are motivated and psyched by the possibilities around being able to merge forces and grow and help more institutions,” Healy said. “When you’re a small boutique firm like we were, that’s relatively limited.”

Smith and Gomez’s clients have included Baylor University, where they investigated the response to sexual assault allegations against football players; and University of Virginia , where they worked on campus policies and practices in response to a Rolling Stone article that made false claims of a sexual assault at the university. Other clients have included Amherst College, Occidental College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

In 2013, Margolis Healy opened the National Center for Campus Public Safety, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. They will continue to operate the center. Healy will also continue as the company’s CEO, and the subsidiary will remain based in Burlington, Vermont.

This subsidiary is not a first for Cozen O’Connor . The firm has two other affiliate companies— Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies, a bipartisan lobbying firm, and Legal Fee Solutions, which manages and disputes attorney fee issues for clients in the corporate, commercial, insurance and financial sectors.