By: Lizzy McLellan
Cohen Seglias Partners George Pallas, Jason Copley, and Roy Cohen along with the Firm’s Executive Director Kathleen Garrity were interviewed by Lizzy McLellan for her Legal Intelligencer article, “Cohen Seglias Elects New Managing Partner,” regarding George’s new role as the Firm Wide Managing Partner, effective January 1, 2017. The article is available on the Legal Intelligencer website, as well as on Law.com.
Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman has selected a new firmwide managing partner, George Pallas.
Pallas is set to become managing partner of the 60-lawyer firm Jan. 1 for a three-year term, after being elected to the position earlier this year. He is taking over for Jason Copley, who served in the position for six years. Pallas is a founding member of the firm, and currently serves as its treasurer and a member of the board of directors.
Copley said the change in managing partner allows the firm to move forward and bring fresh ideas to the table.
One of those fresh ideas is a new leadership structure, to be implemented Jan. 1, which will include a 10-member executive committee to handle firm operations. Pallas will work with the executive committee and each of its supporting subcommittees, and they will all report to the board.
This came about because the managing partner of Cohen Seglias has traditionally maintained a law practice in addition to the leadership responsibilities, Pallas said. With 60 or more attorneys, he said, that becomes difficult.
“Our clients demand a lot from us whether we’re wearing the hat of managing partner or not,” Pallas said. “It’s very taxing and it’s a lot for one person to bear as the firm continues to grow in head count.”
The new structure also allows younger partners and attorneys to get more involved with the business of the firm, he noted. Executive director Kathleen Garrity will also play a larger management role as a part of the new structure, according to the firm.
Pallas said he wants to grow the total head count, in order to enhance the firm’s existing 10 offices and open new locations. Those would most likely be driven by where the client base is located, and could be in Ohio, New England or areas south of Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia. The firm is open to mergers in addition to laterals, he said, as long as it is a good cultural match.
“We are in a perpetual search for strategic partners,” he said. “Our client base continues to expand nationally.”
Cohen Seglias is known for its construction-related work. Pallas said the firm is looking to strengthen other practices as well, including the energy and utilities group, internal investigations and real estate. He is also planning to launch an environmental practice group.
Cohen Seglias was founded in 1988. In 28 years it has gone from nine lawyers to 60, spread across offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Kentucky. During Copley’s tenure as managing partner, the firm’s head count has grown by about a dozen lawyers, he estimated.
In more recent years, the firm grew its Pittsburgh office in 2015, more than doubling the head count there to five lawyers. The firm also added its Washington office that year through its merger with four-attorney Thaler Liebeler, which had been focused on litigation, corporate law, employment law and international matters. That merger also brought the firm an internal investigations practice.
“The firm has grown in both overall revenue and in people,” Copley said, noting that the firm has also added a paralegal group and e-discovery capabilities.