Philly’s Pepper Hamilton and Pittsburgh’s Reed Smith in Merger Talks

The two Pennsylvania-based law firms could create a firm worth $1.5 billion.

reed-smith-pepper-hamilton-940x540Two of Pennsylvania’s most high-powered and high-profile law firms are talking about joining forces. According to a statement from Reed Smith, that Pittsburgh-based law firm is in talks to merge with Pepper Hamilton, a smaller firm headquartered in Philadelphia. The merger would create a firm of 2,000 lawyers around the world. Combined, the two firms made $1.5 billion in revenue last year.

This would be a big move for Reed Smith, which Bloomberg has reported is going through a minor personnel crisis of late. The firm laid off 45 lawyers in the U.S., Europe and Middle East in January, and more recently, a group of financial services lawyers and a white collar defense team left for rival McGuireWoods.

Reed Smith has 1,620 lawyers worldwide in offices across the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It reported $1.12 billion in revenue last year. Pepper Hamilton is a considerably smaller firm, with 490 lawyers at 13 offices throughout the U.S and $388.5 million in revenue in 2015. If the merger goes through, it would essentially be an acquisition of Pepper Hamilton by Reed Smith. They are each full service law firms that offer a variety of practices across several industries. Pepper Hamilton, however, is known in the industry for white-collar defense.

The two law firms are still only in the initial phases of discussions, however, and are far from confirming any agreement.

Follow Matt Sheridan on Twitter.