Law firm Cozen O’Connor grew up within the Philadelphia Stock Exchange building situated at 1900 Market Street. Over the course of the last 31 years, its lawyers have slowly but surely replaced the options traders who once dominated the upstairs office suites and the basement trading floor, which is now owned by Nasdaq.
The firm, which has swelled to include 173 shareholder partners as well as 376 other lawyers and a support staff of 620, last month announced that it would be making a move to newly rebuilt office space at One Liberty Place when its current lease expires in 2015.
Cozen managing partner Vincent McGuinness says that while the relocation was inevitable, there was never any real doubt that the firm would stay in town. Many of the shareholders live in the suburbs, McGuinness admitted. Part of the debate was whether the workers could move out. Also, free parking, avoiding the city wage tax and having a shorter commute to run the kids’ baseball games were all factors in the decision.
McGuinness, who headed the committee that was in charge of the move, notes that despite the possible attractions there were too many reasons to stay in the city. For one thing, a lot of Cozen’s business comes from public agencies and big companies. The city is also being more convenient for commuters and it is a buyer’s market, with rents mostly being under $30 per square foot as they was two decades ago, and many young lawyers prefer to work in the city. These factors made the decision to stay very easy.