Cozen O’Connor: Heller, Michael J.

Michael J. Heller

Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Philadelphia

(215) 665-4141

(215) 701-2441

Michael is the Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cozen O'Connor. He chairs the Firm's Board of Directors and serves on its Management Committee. Michael's business, entrepreneurial, and investing experience arms him with a unique ability to manage the law firm in an ever-changing market and provide legal and business insight on a variety of complex client matters. He understands, first hand, the critical roles of modern executives.

Michael is a recognized leader in the representation of entrepreneurs and emerging growth companies and began his career as a young associate during the IPO craze of the late 1980s before joining Cozen O’Connor in 1994 as the firm's first transactional lawyer. An important element of Michael’s practice is making the necessary introductions to help clients raise capital and find joint venture partners, and he is constantly relied upon for his business acumen and investment instincts. Michael is responsible for assisting clients in all industries and plays an active role from the formation and business planning stages to structuring and negotiating joint ventures and strategic alliances. He also represents venture capital funds and angel investor groups in all forms of equity and debt capital-raising transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings and beyond.

Michael is a frequent speaker on venture capital and entrepreneurism in the Mid-Atlantic region and is regularly quoted as a thought leader in local, regional and national publications. He is Chambers-ranked for Corporate Law - M&A and Private Equity. Each year since it was first established in 2015, the Philadelphia Business Journal has named Michael one of the most influential people in the Philadelphia region and he has been named a Pennsylvania "Super Lawyer" by Law Politics from 2004 to present.

Michael has significant personal business and investing experience, which differentiates him from his peers in the venture capital and private equity space. Michael was an early investor and continues to be a principal owner of Beachbody, LLC, the creator of the popular fitness programs P90X and Insanity, the leading health and fitness direct marketing company in the country. Michael was also one of the original principal owners of the Valley Forge Casino and Resort. 

Michael is a member of the board of directors of a number of for-profit companies, including Beachbody, LLC, ESF Camps, and Hanover Fire and Casualty Co. He also sits on several nonprofit boards, including Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Villanova Law School, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technology (PACT). 

Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Michael received his undergraduate degree in 1986, summa cum laude, from The Pennsylvania State University, and his law degree in 1989, magna cum laude, from Villanova University, where he was a law review editor and a member of the Order of the Coif.

Experience

News

Heller Named to Philadelphia Business Journal’s Power 100

November 02, 2018

Michael Heller has been included in the Philadelphia Business Journal’s “Power 100” list for the fourth consecutive year. The “Power 100” list honors individuals in the greater Philadelphia region who have a large influence in the area and are shaping the future of the region.

Cozen O'Connor Named Pennsylvania Powerhouse by Law360

August 28, 2018

Law360 named Cozen O'Connor a Pennsylvania Powerhouse, an honor given to five law firms who have used their roots in the Keystone State to embark on aggressive national and international expansions.

126 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 22, 2018

One hundred twenty-six Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 20 of the firm’s national offices have been selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Fifty-four Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named 2018 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

June 12, 2018

Super Lawyers has named 54 Cozen O'Connor attorneys to its 2018 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

Cozen O’Connor Board Re-Elects Heller, Promotes McGuinness and Rinaldi Bailey

February 07, 2018

The Board of Directors of Cozen O’Connor unanimously re-elected Michael J. Heller to a third, three-year term as Chief Executive Officer of the firm, and added the title Executive Chairman effective immediately.

100 Cozen O’Connor Lawyers Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 23, 2017

Lawyers were selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition based on a rigorous peer-review that has been developed and defined for more than 30 years.

Michael Heller Named a 2017 Distinguished Leader by The Legal Intelligencer

May 30, 2017

The Distinguished Leaders award recognizes lawyers who achieved impressive results in the past year and demonstrated clear leadership skills that helped them achieve those results.

Cozen O’Connor Earns Client Recognition in 2017 Chambers USA Rankings

May 26, 2017

Chambers USA recognized 47 Cozen O’Connor lawyers as leaders in their respective fields; 14 attorneys were recognized nationally and 11 were ranked in the top band.

Law firm’s unusual move: Sponsoring a PGA golfer

January 10, 2017

An article in the Philadelphia Business Journal titled "Law firm’s unusual move: Sponsoring a PGA golfer" discussed Cozen O'Connor's sponsorship of a veteran PGA golfer.

Pa. Firm Leaders: Election Will Increase Firm Work, but How?

November 10, 2016

Michael Heller and Howard Schweitzer both discuss how the election will increase firm work in The Legal Intelligencer.

Sixty-Two Cozen O’Connor Lawyers Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 15, 2016

Sixty-two Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 13 of the firm’s national offices have been selected for inclusion in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Meeting the Right Match

August 01, 2016

Joseph Tilson, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Labor & Employment, and Michael Heller, CEO of Cozen O'Connor, discuss the MB&T and Cozen O'Connor merger last summer.

Cozen O’Connor Earns Client Recognition in 2016 Chambers USA Rankings

May 27, 2016

Chambers USA recognized 41 Cozen O’Connor lawyers as leaders in their respective fields; 12 attorneys were recognized nationally and 11 were ranked in the top band.

Cozen O’Connor Announces Strategic Partnership with Dreamit

April 25, 2016

Launches New “COpilot” Website Designed to Address Emerging Businesses’ Needs

Cozen O’Connor Partners with Dreamit to Provide Startups with Legal Guidance; Launches Website as Resource for Emerging Company Community

April 25, 2016

Cozen O'Connor partners with Dreamit to provide legal services to a group of health-tech startup companies.

Shark Tank-Style Competition and More to Watch for at the IMPACT Conference

October 30, 2015

Michael J. Heller and Ira C. Gubernick are quoted in Philadelphia Magazines - BizPhilly discussing the upcoming IMPACT 2015 Capital Conference and the Philadelphia entrepreneurial community.

Fifty-Two Cozen O’Connor Lawyers Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 17, 2015

The current edition is based on more than five million detailed evaluations by the top lawyers of the country. This list will be included in dozens of city and regional publications in the United States including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.

Cozen O’Connor Earns Client Recognition in 2015 Chambers USA Rankings

July 06, 2015

Chambers USA recognized 37 Cozen O’Connor lawyers as leaders in their respective fields; 12 attorneys were recognized nationally and 10 were ranked in the top band.

Heller Unanimously Re-Elected CEO of Cozen O’Connor

December 02, 2014

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce that Michael J. Heller has been unanimously re-elected to a second, three-year term as president and chief executive officer of the firm.

Cozen O'Connor CEO & Managing Partner Accept The #ALSIceBucketChallenge

August 20, 2014

Moved by the viral sensation the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Michael Heller and Vince McGuinness have challenged all Cozen O'Connor employees to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Employees at all of Cozen O'Connor’s 23 offices have 24 hours to either donate to ALS (www.alsa.org) or dump a bucket of water on their head (or both). For each employee who accepts the challenge, Michael and Vince will donate $5 to ALS and the firm’s charitable organization will match their donations. Our goal is $20,000.

Cozen O’Connor Earns Client Recognition in 2014 Chambers USA Rankings

May 30, 2014

Chambers USA recognized 29 Cozen O’Connor lawyers as leaders in their respective fields; six attorneys were recognized nationally and eight were ranked in the top band. Stanley Sher was named a “Senior Statesman” in the “Transportation: Shipping: Regulatory (outside New York)” industry, for the pivotal role Sher plays in the firm’s continued success in the transportation industry.

Michael Heller Discusses the Challenges Among Law Firm Leaders Today in The Philadelphia Business Journal

December 13, 2013

​In an article titled “How past law leaders would function in today’s legal world,” Cozen O’Connor CEO Michael Heller discusses whether law firm managers of the 1990s and 2000s could thrive in today’s legal market. The business of running a law firm has changed dramatically since the recession hit in 2008 and clients have increasingly more power in the relationship between law firms and the clients, who have tightened legal budgets and demand a high level of value from the firms they employ. Law firm leaders now are faced with new challenges, including staffing, hiring, real estate, budgeting and weaker demand. Additionally, technology is ever-evolving and leaders must adapt to new advances. Michael Heller states “with technology, leaders 20 years ago did not have time to think about some of that. It’s a critical component today and changing daily. Rate pressure, efficiency, alternative fee arrangements. These issues are not new but they are more prevalent than they were back then.”

46 Cozen O’Connor Lawyers Named to The Best Lawyers in America

August 28, 2013

Forty-six Cozen O’Connor lawyers from eight of the firm’s national offices have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America. Attorneys were selected based on a rigorous peer-review of more than 4.3 million detailed evaluations. The list will be included in publications such as The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and New York magazine.

American Diabetes Association to Hold Event Honoring Michael Heller as a 2013 Father of the Year

May 29, 2013

On June 7, the American Diabetes Association will recognize and honor Michael Heller, Cozen O'Connor's CEO, as its 2013 Father-of-the-Year in Philadelphia.

Michael Heller Interview in Of Counsel Management Report

February 01, 2013

In an interview titled, "Newly Elected CEO Guides Cozen O'Connor Toward Practice Diversity and Market Expansion," Michael Heller speaks with author Steve Taylor on a variety of topics.

American Diabetes Association Honors Michael Heller as a 2013 Father of the Year

January 28, 2013

Michael will be honored along with Jeffrey Brown, founder, president & CEO of Brown's Super Stores, and renowned NFL Head Coach Dick Vermeil.

Six Cozen O’Connor Members Named to SmartCEO’s 2012 Legal Elite List

December 18, 2012

Michael J. Heller, Larry P. Laubach, Steven N. Haas, Jeffrey A. Leonard, Herman C. Fala and Jeffrey G. Weil were named to the Philadelphia SmartCEO’s 2012 list of Legal Elite.

Cozen O’Connor Announces Michael J. Heller as Chief Executive Officer In Planned Leadership Transition Amid Growth

September 25, 2012

Cozen O’Connor Announces Michael J. Heller as Chief Executive Officer In Planned Leadership Transition Amid Growth

Cozen O’Connor Earns Client Recognition in 2012 Chambers USA Rankings

June 11, 2012

Chambers USA has recognized 28 Cozen O’Connor lawyers as leaders in their fields; five attorneys were recognized nationally and three were ranked in the top band.

Cozen O’Connor Expands Executive Management Team

October 12, 2011

Cozen O’Connor Expands Executive Management Team

Cozen O’Connor Earns Client Recognition in 2011 Chambers USA Rankings

June 16, 2011

Chambers USA has recognized 27 Cozen O’Connor lawyers as leaders in their fields.

43 Cozen O’Connor Lawyers Named to The Best Lawyers in America

February 09, 2011

Forty-three Cozen O’Connor lawyers from six of the firm’s national offices have been selected for inclusion in the 2011 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Lawyers were selected for inclusion in the 2011 edition based on a rigorous peer–review of more than 3.1 million detailed evaluations.

Lisa Haas and Michael Heller Elected to GPCC Board

November 03, 2010

Lisa Haas and Michael Heller Elected to GPCC Board

Cozen O’Connor Earns Client Recognition in 2010 Chambers USA Rankings

June 18, 2010

Chambers USA has recognized 18 Cozen O’Connor lawyers as leaders in their fields. The annual rankings are based on client and peer references, as well as information gathered from Chambers’ own independent research. Given both nationally and regionally, the rankings are based on qualities including technical legal ability, professional conduct, and client service.

Forty-Two Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Honored as Best Lawyers in America

September 29, 2009

Forty-two Cozen O’Connor attorneys from seven of the firm’s national offices have been selected for inclusion in the 2010 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Cozen O’Connor Ranked Among Top 10 For Public Finance Underwriter’s Counsel

August 19, 2009

Cozen O’Connor Ranked Among Top 10 For Public Finance Underwriter’s Counsel

Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named 2009 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers By Law & Politics

May 28, 2009

Cozen O’Connor is proud to announce that 52 attorneys from the firm’s Philadelphia and West Conshohocken offices have been named 2009 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers by Law & Politics, and will appear in the June 2009 issues of Philadelphia magazine and Pennsylvania Super Lawyers.

Twenty-Five Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Honored As Best Lawyers In America

October 29, 2008

Twenty-five Cozen O’Connor attorneys from six of the firm’s national offices have been selected for inclusion in the 2009 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Cozen O’Connor Member Michael J. Heller Speaks On Client Advocacy

October 10, 2008

Cozen O’Connor Member Michael J. Heller Speaks On Client Advocacy

Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named Pennsylvania Super Lawyers By Law & Politics

May 29, 2008

Cozen O’Connor is proud to announce that 42 attorneys from the firm’s Philadelphia and West Conshohocken offices have been named 2008 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers by Law & Politics, and will appear in the June 2008 issues of Philadelphia magazine and Pennsylvania Super Lawyers.

Events & Seminars

Past Events

IMPACT 2015 Capital Conference

November 03, 2015 - Philadelphia, PA

Big Thinking: The Moment for Entrepreneurship is Now

April 28, 2010 - Philadelphia, PA

Education

  • Villanova University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 1989
  • Pennsylvania State University, B.S., summa cum laude, 1986

Awards & Honors

Chambers & Partners USA 2009-2018

Best Lawyers in America 2009-2019

Pennsylvania Super Lawyers 2004-2018

  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court -- Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • Board of Directors, Beachbody, LLC
  • Board of Directors, Hanover Fire & Casualty Insurance Company
  • Board of Directors, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
  • Board of Directors, Villanova Law School
  • Board of Directors, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania
  • Board of Directors, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
  • Board of Directors, Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technology (PACT)