Hogan Lovells is shipping up to Boston as the global legal giant plans to combine with local litigation boutique Collora in an effort to bolster its health care and life sciences practices.
“The life sciences industry in Boston [has] been exploding for a long time,” said Asher Rubin, global co-head of the life sciences industry group at Hogan Lovells. “And as head of the group here, one of my jobs is really to make sure that the firm is in the regions it needs to be and is both relevant and visible.”
The merger, which will go live on Sept. 1, brings all of Collora’s lawyers, including 15 partners, into the ranks of 2,609-lawyer Hogan Lovells. The new recruits specialize in investigations and commercial litigation in the financial services, life sciences and technology sectors.
Merger talks began in the fall of 2016, but the two firms had worked side by side on several matters starting back in the 1990s, when Hogan Lovells was known as Hogan & Hartson, said Kathy Weinman, one of the founding partners of Collora.
“It really was a wonderful working relationship,” said Weinman of her firm’s work over the years with Hogan Lovells, which has included advising clients on investigations and even calling on Rubin (pictured right) to serve as an expert witness in one case. “We weren’t looking to join forces with a global firm but when [Hogan Lovells CEO] Steve Immelt reached out to us last fall, [we] decided that we couldn’t turn away this opportunity. It’s a partnership that started long ago.”
Collora was founded in 1988 and known until late 2010 as Dwyer & Collora. The firm changed its name to just Collora on Jan. 31, 2011, after former name partner Thomas Dwyer left to form his own shop and focus on other ventures.
Hogan Lovells’ move into Boston comes the same month that Kirkland & Ellis has set up shop in the city’s Back Bay neighborhood after relocating three private equity partners from Chicago and New York. Besides buyout-focused firms and companies, Boston’s plethora of colleges and universities provide a pool of potential employees for the city’s booming life sciences and technology sectors, which have in turn created an ample amount of local legal work.
Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, a national health care boutique, opened its fifth office in Boston earlier this year, while New York-based litigation shop Nesenoff & Miltenberg did the same in April. And last year General Electric Co. by announcing the move of its headquarters to Boston. The industrial conglomerate broke ground in May on its new home base in Boston’s Seaport District.
GE also announced this week the retirement of CEO Jeffrey Immelt, the brother of Hogan Lovells’ leader Stephen Immelt. Rubin, asked whether Hogan Lovells could look to add another Immelt to its ranks, noted that the firm remains committed to adding only lawyers. Nonetheless, he acknowledged that Hogan Lovells could tap into the expertise of its CEO’s brother as it looks to broaden its offerings to clients in Boston.
With its new Boston office, Hogan Lovells will have 47 offices around the world. The firm, formed through a transatlantic merger in 2010 between Hogan & Hartson and London-based Lovells, has bolted on smaller firms in Mexico and South Africa in recent years. In 2016, Hogan Lovells saw its gross revenue rise almost 6 percent, to $1.925 billion.
Those moves helped convince Collora’s leaders to set aside their partnership and join Hogan Lovells, which like many other global legal giants, operates under the Swiss verein structure.
“Hogan Lovells gives us a global platform for our clients and the ability to offer services for our clients that we don’t currently offer,” said the firm’s co-chair William Lovett. “It’s extremely positive and I think it’s going to be a great combination.”