The September merger between Philadelphia-based law firm Pepper Hamilton and The Freeh Group, founded by former FBI director Louis Freeh, is part of a strategic move to grow the combined firm’s Washington presence, firm leaders said Wednesday.
The deal, announced Tuesday, will combine Pepper Hamilton’s 500 attorneys — 50 of whom are in D.C. — with Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan’s 10 lawyers. The new additions to the D.C. office will be the father-and-son pair, former federal judge Hon. Eugene Sullivan and Eugene Sullivan II, who firm managers say will boost investigations and intellectual property capabilities in Washington.
Judge Sullivan was appointed chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, and served on Nixon’s legal defense team during the Watergate investigation in 1974. The junior Sullivan is an intellectual property litigator and former Howrey attorney.
The acquisition, slated to be completed Sept. 1, “positions us well in the D.C. market,” said Pepper Hamilton chief executive Scott Green. “Its a very important market for us.”
Scott, who in February became Pepper Hamilton’s first non-lawyer chief executive — a rare occurrence for major law firms — said the firm plans to hire more in Washington.
“We’ve got great capability already in intellectual property, health and pharma, securities enforcement, and would like to continue to grow those practices,” he said.
The Freeh Group includes the law firm and the risk management firm Freeh Group International Solutions, which will continue to operate independently as a wholly owned subsidiary of Pepper Hamilton. Freeh will join Pepper Hamilton’s executive committee and continue to serve as chairman of the board for Freeh Group International Solutions.
Freeh’s investigation of the sex abuse scandal at Penn State culminated in last month’s Freeh report. Pepper Hamilton attorneys have previously worked with Freeh on major matters, including the Penn State report and the monitoring of automaker Daimler following a federal anti-bribery investigation.