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

, The Legal Intelligencer


Thorp Reed Managing Partner Jeffrey J. Conn

With a history dating back to 1890, Scott characterized Clark Hill as an "old-line firm." In 1996, Clark, Klein and Beaumont merged with Hill Lewis to form Clark Hill. At the time, according to the firm, it was the largest merger of law firms in the history of Michigan.

In 2012, Legal affiliate The National Law Journal ranked Clark Hill 205th on its NLJ 350, a ranking of firms by attorney headcount. At that time, Clark Hill had 196 lawyers, including 102 partners and 82 associates.

Today, Clark Reed has about 220 lawyers. Thorp Reed, on the other hand, has about 80 attorneys.

But Conn said the merger is not a case of a smaller firm being swallowed by a larger firm.

Instead, according to Conn, elements of both firm's business models will be integrated into the new firm.

"We looked at this as a partnership," Conn said. "We looked at the way Clark Hill does things and the way Thorp Reed does things and we felt we would adopt the best practices [of each firm]."

According to Conn, the management structure of the new firm will have Hern as the CEO and an executive committee comprising both Clark Hill and Thorp Reed attorneys, including Conn and Thorp Reed partner James K. Goldberg.

Hern told The Legal that Clark Hill has a "decentralized" management and leadership structure.

"We don't think of our firm as having a headquarters," Hern said. "We're pushing and promoting leadership throughout all of our offices."

According to Thorp Reed Chief Marketing Officer Cynthia Tonet-Stewart, Conn will remain as partner-in-charge of the Pittsburgh office and Donley will remain as partner-in-charge of the Philadelphia office.

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