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January 27, 2023

The Smartest Service Businesses in the Country Are Accounting Firms, Says Some Lawyer

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In a Bloomberg Law article that looks suspiciously like a thinly-veiled advertisement for Philadelphia law firm Cozen O’Connor, Cozen CEO Michael Heller outlines his firm’s business strategy — “We don’t want to be the firm that pays the highest salaries when times are great, terminates the associates when times are bad and then just keeps going through that cycle” — and explains why diversification is the name of the game for professional services.

Heller takes some of his strategy cues from Big Four accounting firms—which law firm leaders increasingly view as potential competitors.

“The smartest service businesses in the country are accounting firms,” Heller said. “They get it. They understand they need to diversify the revenue streams of the company. They don’t distribute 100% of their profits every year. So, we are following to some extent a little bit more of that model.”

About 8% to 10% of Cozen’s revenue this year will come from ancillary business units, Heller said, adding that the businesses enjoy higher profit margins than the law firm.

The firm owns a safety consulting service, Margolis Healy, an insurance subrogation business, National Subrogation Services, and a cybersecurity risk management unit, COSECURE, along with three other businesses.

Cozen O’Connor Chief: Recession Means Time to ‘Spend Money’ [Bloomberg Law]

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