Hogan Lovells launches in Boston with local merger deal

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 healthcare 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 1 September, brings all of Collora’s lawyers, including 15 partners, into the ranks of 2,609-lawyer Hogan Lovells. The new recruits specialise in investigations and commercial litigation in the financial services, life sciences and technology sectors.

Merger talks began in autumn 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 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 in 2011, after former name partner Thomas Dwyer left to form his own firm 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.

With the Boston launch, Hogan Lovells will have 47 offices around the world, after bolting on smaller firms in Mexico and South Africa in recent years. In 2016, Hogan Lovells saw revenue rise almost 6%, to $1.925bn.

“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 Collora co-chair William Lovett. “It’s extremely positive and I think it’s going to be a great combination.”