17 January 2020

Duane Morris boosts New York arm with Satterlee Stephens merger

Addition of 60-lawyer outfit will make national firm's Manhattan practice its second-largest

Duane Morris and New York’s Satterlee Stephens have agreed to merge in a move that will increase the headcount at the national firm’s Times Square office by 60% to more than 160 lawyers. In a statement, the firms said partners on both sides had approved the merger’s material terms and it was expected the deal would be finalised by the end of the month. 

Satterlee Stephens, which celebrated its 125th anniversary last year, boasts 60 lawyers working across a range of practice areas including insolvency, corporate, litigation, insurance law, IP and media law and private client.

Clients include Moody’s, JP Morgan Chase and Thomson Reuters. Its publicity material makes a virtue of its ability to cover a broad range of practice areas despite it ‘modest size’.

‘Attorneys at Satterlee Stephens are not constrained in any particular practice or group, but instead remain connected to each area in which they are experienced and knowledgeable, to provide the broadest and most qualified assistance to our clients,’ its website states.

The deal boosts the size of Philadelphia-based Duane Morris’s presence in New York to more than 160 lawyers making it the second-largest market for the firm after the its Philadelphia headquarters. 

Duane Morris chief executive and chairman Matthew A. Taylor (pictured) said the Satterlee Stephens’ capabilities were a good fit for the firm. 

He added: “We’ve been talking for quite a while, so we are very comfortable that this would be a spot-on cultural fit as well.” 

James J. Coster, chair of Satterlee Stephens’ executive committee, added: “Not only does Duane Morris have an expansive platform that would provide our lawyers with a broad range of new opportunities to better serve our clients, but the firm’s distinctively collegial culture would facilitate a high level of collaboration with our new colleagues.”

Coster will become co-head of Duane Morris’ New York practice, sharing those duties with Duane Morris’ current New York office head, Michael Grohman. He and another Satterlee partner, who is yet to be identified, will join Duane Morris’ partners board.

The firms New York practice will operate from Duane Morris’ existing office and Satterlee’s 230 Park Avenue headquarters.

It has a busy period for mergers involving Am Law 100 national law firms. Troutman Sanders and Pepper Hamilton agreed to merge earlier this month while in December it was the turn of Faegre Baker and Drinker Biddle to announce a union.

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