The legal industry finished out 2014 strong, thanks in large part to a return of high-end corporate work, with Pennsylvania firms often doing better than their national counterparts on key financial metrics, according to a recent bank survey.
Law Firm News
It's 2015. Are you ready to get to work and grow your firm's business? No matter the size of your firm, but particularly small to midsized firms, it is time to wake up and get energized to market effectively in 2015.
Shifting a law firm's practice focus might be a necessity in today's legal market, but for small and midsize firms, it could be one of the most difficult processes a firm faces.
Attorney Bayard M. Graf died Jan. 16 at the age of 88.
A gay attorney suing personal injury firms for alleged discrimination is pointing to a confidential settlement to help establish the value of lost compensation he claims to have sustained because of the firms' allegedly scuttling his lateral move.
Plaintiffs firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro said there was no evidence to suggest its deal to dismiss 28 thalidomide cases against GSK in exchange for the drug company's agreement not to seek sanctions against the firm was in conflict with its clients' interests.
A Dauphin County judge has denied the bid by three former Penn State administrators charged with covering up the crimes of convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky to have the cases against them dropped.
Longtime Post & Schell appellate attorney Teresa Ficken Sachs has joined Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin as vice chairwoman of the firm's appellate practice.
Former Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Michael Lowry has been sentenced to 20 months in prison for lying to the grand jury in the ticket-fixing case.
The estate of former Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Robert C. Daniels, who died after a fall during a party at Berger & Montague shareholder Sherrie Savett's home in 2011, has settled with Savett and others, but the defense has not been able to execute judgment.
Jon A. Baughman, a trial lawyer who served as chairman of Pepper Hamilton's executive committee from 1992-94, died Monday following a long illness.
The Pennsylvania ACLU and several media outlets, including the Philadelphia City Paper, are challenging a state law they claim is aimed at silencing convicted felons and those who publish the words of felons.
Brian M. Peters, president and CEO of Philadelphia-based Post & Schell, has stepped down from that position, the firm announced Jan. 9.
One of the defendants in a cluster of thalidomide lawsuits in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is seeking nearly $177,000 in fees as a sanction against the plaintiffs' counsel, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro.
Two doctors who were sued by a woman who claimed they failed to promptly diagnose her with Hodgkin's lymphoma have been dismissed from the litigation because of the statute of limitations, a Lackawanna County judge has ruled.
Despite being one of the last Philadelphia firms to enter an increasingly crowded Pittsburgh market, the city's fit with Blank Rome's energy practice and proximity to a number of other existing firm clients made creating a foothold in Pittsburgh a top priority for the firm.
About six months after being hired by Nelson Brown Hamilton & Krekstein as executive vice president and chief operations and strategic officer, attorney Kevin Toth has left the firm.
Even if Pepper Hamilton violated a former client's confidentiality by disclosing an FBI affidavit of probable cause to search that client's home, the firm can't be sued considering the affidavit was made public prior to the firm's disclosure, a Philadelphia trial judge has ruled.
The latter part of 2014 brought with it not only the biggest business of law news for Pennsylvania, but perhaps for the country. All eyes watched during the second half of the year as Morgan, Lewis & Bockius entertained merger discussions with struggling Boston-based firm Bingham McCutchen. A full-on acquisition of the more than 700 lawyers at Bingham would have been a big departure for Morgan Lewis' typical growth strategy of acquiring groups of attorneys from firms that are disbanding.
Among the most significant developments to come out of the Philadelphia Bar Association this year was its hosting of a conference that brought bar leaders from across the globe together in Philadelphia.
The passing year began with a flurry of changes for small and midsized firms across the state, with leadership transitions, group laterals, additions and splits continuing throughout the year.
The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments over whether an attorney, who declined to undergo a chemical test following his arrest for allegedly driving under the influence but offered to alternatively take breathalyzer and urinalysis tests, should have his driver's license suspended for one year.
Squire Patton Boggs has said the bulk of the claims in a multimillion-dollar malpractice and fraud suit against the firm over its 17-year relationship with client Alliance Holdings should be dismissed because the firm was simply giving legal advice and was not in possession of any of the funds allegedly misappropriated by Alliance's founder.
The lawyers who represented a junior-high girl when she challenged her school district for barring her from the boys' wrestling team have gotten an additional $30,000 in attorney fees and a reprimand from the judge.
The legal expenses racked up in fighting a 2007 mayoral ballot challenge were not incurred to influence the outcome of an election, so forgiving that debt is not bound by campaign finance limits, the state Supreme Court has ruled.
The collective weight of the season is upon law firm managing partners this month, with the season of course being that of collections, partner compensation and rate-setting. And the latter has proven a bit vexing for firm leaders this year as they grapple with setting rates in an era where firms span multiple markets and practice concentrations, clients aren't willing to pay the published rates and alternative fee deals are a growing part of firm revenue.
The former director of records at the Philadelphia Traffic Court, William "Billy" Hird, has been sentenced to two years in prison for his part in the court's ticket-fixing scandal.
How are law firms dealing with the issue of data security? Explore the technology of staying cyber-safe in this collection of articles.
Pennsylvania's rule waiving the requirement that out-of-state lawyers take the bar exam in order to join the state's bar only for those who come from a state that allows the same admission to Pennsylvania lawyers is constitutional, although not necessarily prudent, a federal judge has ruled.
A former Blue Bell, Pa., attorney, suspended since 2009 over criminal convictions stemming from incidents involving stalking and child pornography, has resigned from practicing law.
It's a Friday afternoon in November and Rogers Stevens is in the wrong city. A few hours ago he was in Ballard Spahr's Philadelphia office on Market Street and all was well, but now he's in a car at the airport, rushing to change out of his suit because he's got a plane to catch and a show to play and that show is in Calgary. He's not even in the right country.
The NCAA is citing its ongoing spat with state officials in a separate case as evidence that a protection order in Paterno v. NCAA should limit pretrial disclosure.
In the last 10 years, there has been no movement in the percentage of women lawyers practicing in the Pennsylvania offices of the state's 100 largest law firms.
Declining prices at the gas pump are good for consumers, but they can also potentially reduce demand for shale-based products.
Incoming Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Albert S. Dandridge III said getting lawyers more involved with helping the poor and veterans, as well as promoting diversity, will be top priorities during his tenure.
The head of Burns White's white-collar and government enforcement practice has left the firm and gone out on his own, taking with him a number of high-profile matters.
The parent company of Philadelphia's two major daily newspapers has sued Morgan, Lewis & Bockius over the firm's alleged "disloyalty" in siding with one faction of two feuding ownership groups while the firm was supposed to be acting more neutrally as counsel for the parent entity.
General counsel of companies undergoing international expansion are finding implementation of global ethics and compliance programs presents an array of challenges that law firms and compliance consulting firms can't always solve.
Philadelphia became home Monday to the largest firm in the United States based on domestic-attorney head count with the addition of 510 lawyers to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
Scott Green, one of the first nonlawyer CEOs of an Am Law 100 or 200 firm, is leaving Pepper Hamilton to "pursue other interests," the firm said in a brief statement.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius has extended offers of full-time employment to more than 300 legal professionals at Bingham McCutchen, a source close to Morgan Lewis said.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius has grown over the years to one of the largest law firms in the world in terms of both revenue and attorney head count and has done so without adopting the merger-focused strategy of some of its fellow global brethren.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius partners voted in the early afternoon of Nov. 14 to admit 227 Bingham McCutchen partners into their partnership. The firm confirmed the mass lateral move, which a trio of sources briefed on the matter say is not a merger, in a press release.
Pennsylvania and Delaware law firms could have a banner year if the 2014 collections cycle goes well, according to another survey that shows area law firms have strong inventory along with revenue projections that are outpacing expense growth. But the firms still lag when it comes to rate increases and come in above the national average when it comes to attorney head count growth in what one banker described as an industry that continues to deal with overcapacity.
The PaLaw Managing Partners Breakfast, The Legal's gathering of Pennsylvania's law firm leaders for a networking and information session filled with useful business intelligence, is scheduled from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Dec. 3 at the Top of the Tower, Three Logan Square, 1717 Arch St., Philadelphia.
The current fiscal year may have gotten off to a slow start in terms of legal work, but many midsized firms are reporting steady year-over-year growth as fiscal year 2014 begins to wrap up.
Geographic expansion has been an oft executed strategy of late among law firms looking for ways to capture new market share, but three recent moves demonstrate just how differently firms can approach that growth.
James D. Schultz has stepped down as Pennsylvania's general counsel to rejoin Cozen O'Connor where he will lead the newly formed government law and regulatory affairs practice.
Close to half of chief legal officers don't care about a law firm's service delivery model as long as firms produce the right results, but only 4 percent said they are satisfied with how firms traditionally provide legal services, according to a recent survey by Altman Weil.
A Philadelphia-based litigation funding company is suing a California law firm and its client over the failure to repay funds loaned to help support the client during his copyright suit against musical artist Usher and various record labels.
Pennsylvania will have jurisdiction to prosecute a man who allegedly made terroristic threats from a phone in New Jersey to a victim in Montgomery County, the state Superior Court has ruled.
Pennsylvania law firms will have to get to work on their annual collection push this quarter, but the good news is, they will have plenty of chips to cash in as long as they start sending out those bills, according to a survey by Citi Private Bank's Law Firm Group looking at how the third quarter of 2014 stacked up to the same time last year.
A federal judge has denied a motion to disqualify Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott from a case between the two former co-owners of the juvenile detention facilities at the heart of the Luzerne County "kids-for-cash" judicial scandal.
The fight over whether insurance companies in Pennsylvania have to cover in-school autism care has been sent back to the state Superior Court for a ruling on the merits of a case presenting the issue.
The Commonwealth Court has denied a Right-to-Know Law request seeking documents related to the Freeh report that the former secretary of the state Department of Education had received.
The question of how relaxed the court should be in taking up appeals when requests for arbitration are denied was before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit last week.
Ten judges have been named as potential candidates for three vacancies to be filled on the state Supreme Court in the 2015 judicial election, sources have told The Legal, and one Philadelphia attorney has said he is considering running.
A Duquesne University School of Law professor, whose subjects include Islamic law, has sued the law school and its dean for age, gender and religious scholarship discrimination.
A Philadelphia judge has granted final approval to a $1.43 million settlement in a class action brought by unsuccessful applicants to carry firearms who alleged the city disclosed confidential information about the applicants on a website database.
Reed Smith has parted ways with 12 paralegals in its financial industry group in Pittsburgh in the last two weeks, with the firm acknowledging a group of paralegals went in-house to client Federated Investors.
To understand the significance of the engagement letter, it may be best for attorneys to take the word "engagement" out of the professional context and think about how the word is used in the individual context. To become engaged is one of the most significant acts we undertake as individuals. So, too, in the professional context, becoming engaged is one of the most significant acts a professional can undertake. When you enter into an engagement, you are binding yourself to another person.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is not often in the business of confirming or denying the existence of, let alone commenting on, pending or closed investigations. But the office issued a public statement Tuesday to say no criminal charges would be filed against suspended state Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery or his wife, Lise Rapaport, in relation to an investigation into Rapaport's acceptance of referral fees.
While the Pennsylvania Supreme Court expects the state's Judicial Conduct Board to investigate and determine whether to charge Justice Seamus P. McCaffery within 30 days, lawyers said meeting the deadline might be an unrealistic goal for the modestly-staffed disciplinary body.
Business for law firms in Harrisburg and Lancaster has been improving at a steady pace, but an additional opportunity has presented itself for those willing to venture south.
The state Supreme Court has declined to hear arguments in a case involving the decertification of a class of medical providers who have received overdue medical benefit payments from Progressive Insurance Co. excluding interest.
While there are only a few Pennsylvania firms among those most frequently used by Fortune 500 companies, some of the largest corporations in the world call on Pennsylvania firms of all sizes for a variety of legal needs.
On Oct. 20, the board of directors meeting is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at Saul Ewing, 1500 Market St., Centre Square West, 38th floor.
A Pennsylvania company has filed a nine-count complaint against its longtime outside general counsel, Squire Patton Boggs, over allegations the firm was conflicted in representing the company and its sole founder and allegedly helped that founder inappropriately benefit from the company's stock plan to the tune of millions of dollars.
Judges involved in sending pornographic or otherwise inappropriate emails to members of state agencies could face disciplinary action for tarnishing the reputation of the judiciary, lawyers said.
The merger of two small Philadelphia firms, one focusing on qui tam cases and the other on medical malpractice cases, may be part of a growing trend of mergers at the small and midsize firm level.
While the Philadelphia lateral market has been languishing when it comes to firms hiring from one another, in-house counsel seem to be an attractive draw.
They say everything is bigger in Texas, but the supply of lawyers isn't endless, making the successful entry of out-of-state firms into the market all the more challenging as the most sought-after talent is only going to lateral so often.
While the market for personal injury referrals is and has always been competitive, the key to maintaining a steady flow of referred cases or attracting new ones lies not only in a firm's reputation for success, but also in keeping up appearances with referral lawyers, several attorneys said.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery was one of the people found to have sent pornographic emails to a government email address within the state Attorney General's Office, according to a media report and sources who spoke to The Legal.
Labor and employment firm Willig, Williams & Davidson has formed an "of counsel partnership" with Chicago-based firm Illinois Advocates, the firms announced Wednesday.
Fox Rothschild is set to enter the Texas market today with the acquisition of 18-lawyer Dallas firm David & Goodman.
Two Pennsylvania law firms are part of a crop of 15 firms nationally that have agreed to hire fellows as part of the OnRamp Fellowship, a program designed to help female attorneys reenter the workforce after taking a few years off.
There may be nothing better for a lawyer's book of business than uncertainty in the law, so while new regulations announced Monday that aim to limit the controversial corporate inversion may put a stop to some of those deals, it won't stop the need for tax attorneys to dissect these new rules and the promise of continued political machinations.
A full-scale law firm acquisition would be somewhat of an outlier in Morgan, Lewis & Bockius' growth strategy, but it may be just what the firm is about to do with reports this weekend that leadership at Morgan Lewis and Boston-based Bingham McCutchen have agreed to press forward with a merger.
Longtime Drinker Biddle & Reath Chairman Alfred W. Putnam Jr. will hand over leadership of the firm next year to his second-in-command, executive partner Andrew C. Kassner, a number of sources have confirmed to The Legal.
Insurance boutique Nelson Brown Hamilton & Krekstein, which since February has shed 30 attorneys, has parted ways with six more attorneys and several key staff positions, sources close to the firm have said.
The state Superior Court has upheld the grant of summary judgment to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and some of its partners in a legal malpractice case involving a $112.5 million real-estate finance deal.
Drexel University's law school is to be renamed the Thomas R. Kline School of Law in honor of the Philadelphia litigator's $50 million donation to the university.
A former managing partner of several medical centers—who has twice been found liable for insurance fraud—testified in the highly contentious case between two of Philadelphia's personal-injury firms that Lundy Law had required payments from him before it would refer clients to his offices.
Greenberg Traurig has asked a Philadelphia judge to affirm an arbitration award of $673,060 in its favor and against two former shareholders who left to form their own firm.
As Pennsylvania-based law firms were setting their sights on national and international markets, out-of-town firms started opening up shop in the state. With foreign expansion slowing down for many Pennsylvania firms and competition in the local market increasing, area firms are refocusing their efforts on their own backyards.
Judicial campaigning and self-regulation of attorney discipline were some of the topics tackled during a panel discussion at the World City Bar Leaders Conference, hosted for the first time in Philadelphia.
For the leader of a midsized law firm, daily life is marked by constant balancing between keeping an active practice and managing the firm's business and strategic operations.
It is "irrational" and "illogical" to suggest U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, D-Pa., is still a candidate for Philadelphia mayor and thus bound by city campaign finance laws in repaying $450,000 in legal fees seven years after Brady lost the primary, his attorney argued before the state Supreme Court.
Sanctions imposed upon defense counsel for repeatedly canceling depositions in an infant death case have been upheld by a Lackawanna County judge.
In an economy in which revenue is hard to come by, mergers are increasingly viewed as a way for firms to capture market share. But merger discussions could also lead to lost revenue opportunities, making them a tricky proposition for firm leadership.
Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott said it should not be disqualified from representing a "kids-for-cash" scandal defendant in a civil suit when the firm sued that defendant in a civil rights suit on behalf of one of the kids because both parties signed conflict waivers.
Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Aughtry, a Texas-based firm with a Pennsylvania presence, is projecting a rebound in 2014 after seeing declines in gross revenue, profits per equity partner and revenue per lawyer in 2013.
The state Superior Court has upheld the criminal conviction of an attorney who—after his disbarment—continued to represent two clients in lawsuits.
Pepper Hamilton Chairman Louis J. Freeh, a former judge and director of the FBI, was in a New Hampshire hospital Tuesday after suffering serious injuries in a one-car accident in Vermont.
The Third Circuit reversed the writ of habeas corpus granted to a man who alleged the prosecution had been racially motivated when it tossed black jurors before his trial in 2001.
The state Supreme Court has declined to hear a brain-cancer-cluster case against Rohm and Haas that was initially dismissed, but revived later by the state Superior Court.
New Jersey-based Archer & Greiner has sued a Pennsylvania-based client in federal court for more than $1.15 million in alleged unpaid legal fees.
Dechert has officially been granted a license to practice law in Singapore, eight months after the firm applied for permission to practice in the country.
Practicing at a private law firm can be plenty stressful, and the demands placed on lawyers are often exhausting, but two Philadelphia attorneys are going through intense training in order to use their legal skills in an entirely new situation.
Do you want to retire and sell your firm? Do you want to slow down and let another attorney take over all the headaches associated with running your firm? Are you a partner in a megafirm who has decided that it's time to spend more time with the grandkids?