Pittsburgh's Thorp Reed to Merge With Detroit-Based Clark Hill

, The Legal Intelligencer

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Thorp Reed Managing Partner Jeffrey J. Conn

For example, according to Conn, Clark Hill has a growing immigration practice, which Thorp Reed doesn't have.

Thorp Reed, meanwhile, has an insurance and reinsurance practice, headed by partner Joseph M. Donley in Philadelphia, Conn said.

In fact, Donley came to Thorp Reed through the firm's last merger.

In 2008, the firm combined forces with Philadelphia-based Kittredge Donley Elson Fullem & Embick. Kittredge Donley, with 11 lawyers, expanded Thorp Reed's presence in Philadelphia as well as its depth in the insurance and reinsurance industry.

Meanwhile, Clark Hill's deal with Thorp Reed is its second merger in less than a year.

In June 2012, the nine attorneys and other staff of the Southfield, Mich.-based law firm Kupelian, Ormond & Magy merged into Clark Hill.

Speaking to The Legal in January, Dan Scott, an attorney headhunter with Clarkston, Mich.-based Movement, said he was not surprised Clark Hill would be interested in entering Pittsburgh, where it can market its Detroit rates as a relative bargain.

"They're looking, like a lot of firms in secondary markets, at expanding into markets where their rates would be considered lower than most big firms," Scott said, adding that in a market like Pittsburgh, "being able to say to prospective clients, 'Hey, we can make money at $450 an hour,' people are at least going to listen."

Scott also told The Legal in January that Thorp Reed, in particular, made sense as a merger partner for Clark Hill.

"The market vertical they occupy is similar," Scott said, describing Clark Hill as a general practice commercial firm.

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