Collora LLP is used to receiving business propositions.
In the thirty years since the firm was founded by Thomas E. Dwyer, Jr., Michael A. Collora and Kathy B. Weinman, Collora has been approached several times by national firms looking to plant a flag in Boston. In those cases, firms received a polite “thanks, but no thanks” from Collora leadership. But Hogan Lovells was different. Earlier this month, the two firms announced plans to combine on September 1st, but in reality the partnership goes back much further.
“Collora and Hogan have worked together for more than ten years in connection with a number of mutual clients and matters,” explained Maria Durant, a Collora partner and co-chair of the firm’s Ethics Committee. “Through that work, we’ve learned a lot about the attorneys at Hogan Lovells, about the exceptional quality of their work, and about the culture of the firm. So when we learned that Hogan Lovells was considering opening a Boston office, and they called us, it made perfect sense for us to enter into discussions.”
As discussions took place, the complementary nature of the firms became apparent to all. Collora’s litigation and investigation work – particularly in the areas of life sciences, higher education and financial services – rounded out the range of services offered by Hogan Lovells. And Hogan’s regulatory, IP, and corporate expertise had been tapped by Collora over the years for the benefit of their clients.
“Once we started talking, it became more and more apparent that this would be a wonderful combination for both firms,” said Durant.
From the perspective of Hogan Lovells, the addition of a well-known, well-established firm in a thriving life sciences market was an ideal scenario.
“Boston is the leading place in the country, if not the world, for life sciences,” said Asher Rubin, a partner at Hogan Lovells and Global Head of the firm’s Life Sciences Industry Group. “Hogan had originally been an ‘inside the Beltway’ DC firm. Back then, the view was that the two cities didn’t cross over. But the national and global economies have changed, and lawyers are more mobile. Hogan has a competitive advantage in the strength of our regulatory practice. We have a deep bench in regulatory aspects of law, and especially with life sciences, so having a presence in Boston made sense.”
But having seen and read about other firms setting up shop in Boston with a handful of attorneys transplanted from other offices, firm leadership knew that wasn’t the strategy for them.
“We wanted to make certain that what we did was sustainable and had critical mass, from a people standpoint, a business standpoint, and a community standpoint,” continued Rubin. “We really wanted a well-known, highly regarded law firm with local practitioners, with a focus on the life sciences industry. Collora satisfied all those requirements in a way that exceeded our expectations.”
Looking ahead, the firms are in the process of integrating teams and identifying new opportunities for their clients. There are plans for “thoughtful growth” in Boston, but for the time being attorneys will remain at Collora’s current offices at 100 High Street. And when it comes to public service and support for legal services, the combined firms have no plans to alter course.
Since its founding 30 years ago, Collora has been committed to pro bono work and community and bar organization service. “Service to the bar and the community is part of the fabric of Collora. We are proud that two past BBA Presidents hail from our firm as well as several past and current BBA section co-chairs,” said Durant, who herself will co-chair the BBA’s 2017 Annual Meeting Steering Committee.
Members of the firm also serve on the Boards of Greater Boston Legal Services, Appleseed Foundation, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice and Women’s Bar Foundation. “It was essential to us that any firm we partnered with shared a commitment to legal and community service and Hogan Lovells does just that. “We fully expect that the Hogan Lovells Boston office will continue to be active in the Boston community well into the future.”