Cozen O'Connor Announces New Chief, Discusses Plans for Future Growth

Once thought of as an insurance coverage powerhouse run by its name partners, Cozen O’Connor culminated years of expansion and development with a Tuesday announcement that a former chairman of its business law practice group has been elevated to the BigLaw firm’s top job.

Effective Jan. 1 of next year, Michael J. Heller will serve as president and chief executive officer of the 575-attorney firm. He is currently its president and executive partner. Thomas A. Decker, who is now Cozen’s chief executive officer, will transition into a vice chair position. In that role, he will be actively involved in strategic growth initiatives and an ancillary business that offers bipartisan government relations services, explains a law firm press release. Vincent R. McGuinness Jr. continues as the firm’s managing partner.

“Over the last decade, Cozen O’Connor has aggressively broadened and strengthened its practice offerings to create a full-service platform for clients,” Decker said in the release. “Michael has been a key architect of this growth, and under his stewardship, we expect to continue to strategically expand throughout our geographic markets.”

Formerly with WolfBlock, Heller helped recruit 65 other attorneys from the Philadelphia-based firm after it collapsed in 2009. He said Cozen expects continued growth in its commercial and transactional practice groups, particularly intellectual property, real estate and utilities, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

However, insurance litigation will also remain a core strength, Heller told the newspaper. “We are not going to forget where we came from.”

Founded in Philadelphia more than 40 years ago as a tiny boutique by Stephen A. Cozen, the firm now has 20 offices in the United States, London and Toronto, Canada, as well as a cooperation agreements with law firms in France and Germany.

Related coverage: (Jan. 2010): “Cozen’s Lateral Hiring Spree Includes Baker Hostetler’s Antitrust Chief” (July 2010): “Cozen O’Connor to Acquire 15-Person Sher & Blackwell Team Led by Managing Partner” (May 2011): “14 Houston Lawyers Leap from Epstein Becker to Cozen O’Connor” (June 2011): “Cozen Raids IP Litigation Boutique in NYC, Takes Away 19 of 27 Lawyers, Including 5 Senior Partners”

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