DLA Piper has been on an aggressive growth path for the past 15 years, achieving a top-of-the-heap ranking in both headcount and revenue terms. Now the leadership is to change with the firm announcing a new lineup to take place in 2015.
It’s a move that one of the new heads, corporate partner Roger Meltzer (pictured) says will enhance the global integration of the firm.
The leadership changes elevates some partners who held management roles in the firm’s U.S. and international wings, the Wall Street Journal reports. It also and ushers into advisory positions two of the firm’s current senior leaders—including Chicago lawyer Lee Miller, a co-architect of DLA Piper’s rise.
The changes are set to take effect Jan. 1, 2015.
The new global co-chairs of the firm will be U.S. corporate partner Roger Meltzer, who joined DLA Piper from Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP in 2007, and U.K. partner Nigel Knowles, who helped cement the British portion of the tie-up that created DLA Piper in 2005. Mr. Meltzer is currently a co-chair of the Americas for DLA Piper, while Mr. Knowles is managing partner of the firm’s international business.
“It’s the institutional evolution of the firm,” Mr. Meltzer said on Tuesday, “as we continue to strive toward greater integration.”
DLA Piper is the product of a series of mergers in the late 1990s and 2000s that knitted together regional firms in Baltimore, Chicago and San Diego, and also expanded the firm’s reach across the Atlantic through a tie-up with British firm DLA. The firm now has more than 4,200 lawyers worldwide and had $2.4 billion in revenue in 2012, according to the American Lawyer.
Messrs. Meltzer and Knowles will succeed the current co-chairs, Mr. Miller and Tony Angel, a prominent British lawyer who joined DLA Piper in 2011 after nine years as global managing partner of U.K. firm Linklaters.
Mr. Angel came onboard at DLA Piper to “drive some management and institutional change,” Mr. Meltzer said, and help recruit new talent, something he said helped the firm “move the brand upstream in a very difficult market.”
Mr. Miller helped hatch the 1999 merger between his firm, Chicago-based Rudnick & Wolfe, and Baltimore’s Piper & Marbury (then led by DLA’s chairman emeritus, Frank Burch) that set DLA Piper on its current path.
Both outgoing co-chairs will transition to what the firm termed “important advisory roles,” though it is not clear whether they will be partners.
DLA also announced two new global CEOs, who have a more operational role than the global co-chairs and are responsible for executing the strategy laid out by the firm’s global board. They are Cameron “Jay” Rains, who comes from the San Diego part of the DLA merger and, like Mr. Meltzer, is also a co-chair for the Americas, and Simon Levine, co-managing director of groups and services for the firm’s international business.