Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge for all industries. Hard decisions had to be made right away — from when to shut down or start working from home, to now trying to figure out when to open and how to do so safely. The pandemic created challenges that many businesses and law firms had not accounted for, forcing them to improvise. This is what happened when a proposed merger between Philadelphia-based Pepper Hamilton LLP and Atlanta-based Troutman Sanders LLP was scheduled for completion on April 1. The date was moved to July.
With the pandemic and social distancing not allowing for an actual physical merger of the two firms, they were able to start the process of merging by creating a COVID-19 Resource Center that allowed attorneys from each firm to start collaborating together to provide guidance to clients and legal and business issues related to COVID-19. Now on July 1 the official merger could take place in a much safer and less risky situation for all involved. Freshly anointed Chair and CEO Steve Lewis explains:
Delaying the merger allowed us to prioritize the health and safety of our people, and in the interim, our firms have come together in meaningful ways to guide clients through this difficult time. As our industry and indeed all industries continue to grapple with the challenges created by the health crisis, we know that we are stronger as one firm and choose to move forward together.
Though the new attorneys and staff will remain meeting via zoom and phone calls, they will now officially be a part of the new Troutman Pepper firm.
Troutman Pepper will have 23 offices in cities nationwide. In addition to Lewis, the firm will be led by Managing Partner Tom Cole and Partner Compensation Committee Chair Andrea Farley. The new management will be joined by new department chairs which now consist of senior members from both Troutman Sanders and Pepper Hamilton. Department chairs will have key roles in managing the firm and are members of Troutman Pepper’s new policy committee.
John West, chair of the business litigation department, specializes in government investigations, white collar crime, and regulatory compliance. Prior to the merger, West was the office managing partner of Troutman Sander’s Richmond office and a member of the firm’s executive committee.
Rachael Bushey is the chair of the health sciences department. Bushey is highly experienced in the life and health sciences industries having been the deputy general counsel and corporate secretary for West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. She joined Pepper Hamilton from Hogan Lovells as vice chair of Pepper Hamilton’s heslth Sciences department. Bushey was most recently a member of Pepper Hamilton’s executive committee and the chair of its health sciences practice.
Amie Colby is the chair of the regulatory and finance department. As a senior partner from Troutman Sanders, Colby joined the firm as an associate and grew to be the office managing partner of the firm’s Washington Office. She was most recently a member of the Troutman Sanders’ executive committee and remains a leader in the new firm’s energy practice, representing clients before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Bill Belanger is chair of the specialized litigation department. He joins the new firm from Pepper Hamilton, where he was chair of the intellectual property department and a member of its executive committee. He has successfully litigated disputes before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). An expert in intellectual property matters, Belanger is a noted leader of Troutman Pepper’s IP practice.
Mason Bayler is now chair of the transactional department, handling practice areas such as mergers and acquisitions and capital markets. He was a longtime partner with Troutman Sanders, having joined in 2006 and most recently served on the firm’s executive committee. Bayler remains a leader for Troutman Pepper’s corporate practice.
— David Yang co-authored this report.