Troutman Pepper Merger Completed Amid Pandemic

The long-awaited merger between Atlanta’s Troutman Sanders and Philadelphia’s Pepper Hamilton finally went live Wednesday, July 1, after a delayed start date and pay cuts in response to the coronavirus pandemic.  

The merger creates a 1,100-lawyer firm, Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders—one of the 50 highest-grossing firms in the country based on their 2019 revenues. The legacy firms’ combined revenue last year was US$900 million.

While initially set to merge April 1, Troutman and Pepper pushed back the effective date to July 1 because of the pandemic. Indeed, the pandemic-induced shutdown has been the greatest immediate challenge for the Troutman Pepper merger, said the firm’s vice chair, Thomas Gallagher, as the legacy firms focus on successfully integrating their partnerships and clients.

“We had a great yearning to get face-to-face and get to know people better—but we couldn’t do that with our clients or each other,” said Gallagher, Pepper’s former chairman, in an interview.

Both legacy firms have restricted travel since the pandemic’s onset, said Troutman Pepper’s CEO and chair, Stephen Lewis, who was formerly Troutman’s managing partner, with only “absolutely necessary client travel during the shutdown.”

Despite the frustration for Troutman Pepper’s 500 partners over the inability to meet in person, Gallagher said delaying the merger date allowed more time for integration via Zoom and phone calls.

“The great unknown,” Gallagher said, at the time of the initial April 1 effective date was how integration would go. “It’s been terrific—for instance, people [from the legacy firms] have been training each other on their systems.”

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