As Sara Austin prepares to take the reins as the Pennsylvania Bar Association's newest president on May 13 following the organization's annual meeting in Hershey, she's thinking about ways to increase engagement with the bar, broaden its membership and better serve the needs of attorneys around the state. The York County civil litigator, who is often found scuba diving when outside of the courtroom, said she already has a theme picked out for her year at the helm: dive right in.
Law Firm News
A Philadelphia judge has denied Morgan, Lewis & Bockius' bid to obtain documents from Dilworth Paxson to aid in the former firm's defense of a suit filed against it by the publishers of Philadelphia's major daily newspapers.
Pennsylvania's largest law firms had above-average financial performances in 2015, often driven by blockbuster years for their real estate practices. While real estate lawyers are still largely bullish through at least 2016, there are signs of a slowdown on the horizon, and the question now becomes how to replicate what was at times double-digit growth.
Pepper Hamilton and Reed Smith's merger discussions, though still in the early stages, were moving along in a positive direction until, for reasons that remain unclear, they hit an abrupt speed bump the afternoon of April 22, sources familiar with the talks said.
Pepper Hamilton and Reed Smith have ended merger discussions less than two weeks after the firms confirmed they were eyeing the possibility of joining forces.
The Legal's 2016 Firm Financial Coverage: Fox Rothschild Grows Revenue 9.6 Percent, PPP Under 1 Percent
Reports for the Legal’s annual firm finance coverage are coming in. Check back often to this page for the latest insights on firm revenue, net income and other metrics.
By all accounts, Reed Smith is in the driver's seat when it comes to merger discussions with Pepper Hamilton, but the former head of Pepper Hamilton's lucrative health effects litigation practice is said to hold the keys to her colleagues' future in a combined firm.
Clients' willingness to experiment outside of their typical roster of law firms has led to more legal work spreading from large cities to less-expensive counties.
Two small firms in Montgomery County and Bucks County have merged, creating a 28-lawyer dual-county general practice law firm.
While convergence is far from new, general counsel have expressed a growing willingness to experiment with smaller firms and a skepticism of some of the techniques used by larger firms to address costs.
An increase in demand coupled with improved billing realization resulted in a 4.2 percent increase in gross revenue for Blank Rome in 2015, firm leadership said.
McGuireWoods is set to hire a team of lawyers from Reed Smith's Pittsburgh office led by partner Mary Hackett, a former head of Reed Smith's financial services litigation group, Reed Smith has confirmed.
In a year when contingency fees did not weigh in its favor, Duane Morris was able to pull through with a slight increase in annual revenue and no change in profits per equity partner.
A former member of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department has retired from the world of insurance regulation, joining Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young as an adviser to businesses and insurance departments.
Cozen O'Connor saw a 9 percent bump in gross revenue in 2015, bolstered by the midyear addition of Chicago litigation boutique Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson and an overall rise in demand, firm leadership said.
Demand for legal services has remained tight in the past few years and consultants predicted law firms would see an average of less than 5 percent growth in revenue for 2015. But many firms have far outpaced that figure, including a number of Pennsylvania firms that had record years last year.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius has hired a new chief administrative officer with a background in project and pricing management.
Recent law firm acquisitions that fall short of full-scale mergers are an example of the creativity industry consultants expect to see more of when it comes to minimizing the risk of expansion efforts. When Morgan, Lewis & Bockius took on more than 500 lawyers from ailing Bingham McCutchen, it acquired some of the liabilities too, while leaving the shell of Bingham, and a chunk of its lawyers, behind. And Feb. 11's announcement that Blank Rome acquired nearly all of the remaining lawyers of Dickstein Shapiro was accompanied by word that Blank Rome would get the assets of Dickstein Shapiro while seemingly avoiding any substantial liabilities. Bingham and Dickstein Shapiro were left to wind down their own affairs.
In the year leading up to 45 lawyers and additional staff being cut at Reed Smith, the firm saw gross revenue drop 2.5 percent and profits per equity partner (PPP) fall 8.3 percent.
Drinker Biddle & Reath boosted gross revenue 7.5 percent and profits per equity partner more than 11 percent in the first year under new leadership.
Personal injury firm Messa & Associates denied on Friday wage-and-hour claims levied by a former paralegal, instead saying she was fired because she posted negative things about the firm in public forums.
Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads has elected Louis A. Petroni as its new chairman.
Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young has brought on a four-partner team from K&L Gates, adding to its Washington, D.C., office and spurring the opening of a Chicago location.
Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads partner David S. Blum is set to receive the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law Diversity Award on Wednesday.
In a year when it experienced lower demand, Pepper Hamilton was able to grow gross revenue 1 percent thanks in large part to an especially strong corporate practice and contingent fees from its intellectual property practice.
Christopher J. Day, a member in Clark Hill's Philadelphia office, was selected to speak at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute's Identity Theft CLE on March 9 at the PBI Conference Center in Mechanicsburg.
Gregory R. Gifford, a partner at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, was elected treasurer of the Montgomery Bar Association.
Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads partner Mark B. Sheppard was appointed by Gov. Tom Wolf to the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing.
Klasko Immigration Law Partners attorneys Ronald Klasko and Daniel B. Lundy received awards for their expertise and leadership in the EB-5 industry during the third annual Las Vegas EB-5 Conference sponsored by EB5 Investors Magazine.
James W. Cushing of the Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen is set to lead the 16th annual "America Judicial System" seminar March 3 at Bucks County Technical High School to give social studies students an inside look at the judicial branch of government.
While individual partners may be riding out the waves rippling through the stock market, their clients have made adjustments, holding back on deals and generally slowing the purchase of legal services in an already constrained market for the industry.
McNees Wallace & Nurick attorney Kendra McGuire is set to co-present at the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges mid-annual meeting, scheduled from Wednesday to Friday in Philadelphia.
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. March 1 at The Duquesne Club, 325 Sixth Ave., Pittsburgh.
Drinker Biddle & Reath elected several new partners of the firm.
A Pennsylvania state senator who has taken a leading role in medical marijuana legislation is planning to re-enter the private practice of law at a firm that has lobbied for medical cannabis legalization.
This month's Philadelphia Bar Association board of governors meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday in the 10th-floor boardroom at the bar association.
Pennsylvania law firms ranked toward the bottom of regions nationally when it came to key financial metrics in 2015, but there is cause to be optimistic, according to results from Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group's year-end survey.
While most of Pennsylvania's indigenous firms have focused the majority of their lateral growth outside of the state in recent years, the start of 2016 has shown firms are interested in adding talent within the state as well.
The Widener Law Journal is set to host a symposium titled "Ruling the Courts: The Future of Local Rules of Civil Procedure in Pennsylvania."
The National Court Reporters Association designated Feb. 14-20 as the 2016 National Court Reporting and Captioning Week.
Patricia Hamill of Conrad O'Brien is set to speak at the second symposium on "Representing Students Accused of Sexual Assault: Due Process, Tort, Contractual, and Title IX Considerations."
Dana A. Gittleman, associate in the Philadelphia office of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, was named treasurer of the Young Lawyers Division of the Philadelphia Bar Association.
As law firms grew in size and complexity, there was a well-adopted school of thought over the past decade that the firms' leaders should focus 100 percent of their time on managing what had become large-scale businesses. But in Pennsylvania alone, there are a number of firms, including the largest by head count and the most profitable, respectively, whose leaders have some of the largest books of business in the state.
Maria Di Stravolo Elliott of Barley Snyder was selected as the practice group leader for the firm's real estate, environmental and municipal group.
In a rare lateral move for Dechert in Philadelphia, the firm has hired an antitrust partner who has served as a member of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney's six-person leadership team.
High Swartz partner Eric B. Smith was appointed president-elect of the Montgomery Bar Association for a one-year term.
Dechert grew gross revenue 6 percent in 2015 and bumped up partner profits by 8.5 percent in a year in which the firm's litigation practice saw double-digit increases.
Benjamin R. Picker was elected as a shareholder of McCausland Keen & Buckman.
Drinker Biddle & Reath added Mark J. Foley to its labor and employment practice group.
Butler Buchanan III of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin was reappointed as chair of the Campaign for Qualified Judges for 2016.
As the innovation economy has begun to spread outside of Silicon Valley, several Pennsylvania law firms have taken a shot at appealing to companies that may be the next Google or Facebook.
Financial performance in 2015 coupled with indicators for 2016 show law firms will most likely have to add new attorneys to bolster revenue while cutting staff and other lawyers to protect profits, according to a Wells Fargo Legal Specialty Group year-end survey.
A month after a trial judge explained why Reed Smith's mandatory arbitration agreement in a client engagement letter was unenforceable, the law firm withdrew its appeal, dashing the chance for the first-impression issue to reach the state's appellate courts.
Further adding to its litigation bench strength, Pittsburgh-based Burns White has added two members and two associates in the areas of professional liability and medical malpractice.
Real-time marketing (RTM) is a term of art for a type of marketing that many attorneys have been utilizing for more than 20 years. It is a way to respond instantly to consumer legal questions, events and trends.
For Blank Rome, a firm that has long eyed continued growth in Washington, D.C., a combination of some form with ailing Dickstein Shapiro would make sense, if, of course, the price was right, legal observers said.
Pittsburgh-based Babst Calland has opened an office in Washington, D.C., the firm announced Monday, bringing a new niche to its energy and natural resources practice.
Attorney Derek Layser has departed from the firm he helped found in order to create a medical malpractice presence at a Montgomery County-based firm.
Pittsburgh-based Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote has added an office in White Plains, New York, to be led by an attorney from its New Jersey office.
Reed Smith has laid off 45 lawyers across its offices in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, along with an unidentified number of staff.
Ballard Spahr has hired a new chief marketing and business development officer with a focus on client development and cross-marketing.
Coming off a record year for law firm mergers, with the Midwest and southern portions of the country targets of opportunity, Pennsylvania law firms will continue to expand in those markets while eyeing new geographic locations such as the Pacific Northwest, consultants and firm leaders said.
Protecting the legal profession from taxes on legal services, the rise of discount legal services and declining interest from young leaders will be the focus of the Montgomery Bar Association's newest president.
Louis S. Fine, founding partner of Fine and Staud, died Jan. 5.
As technology companies invaded Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show this week, touting the ways their new products will make users' lives easier, data privacy lawyers were helping craft the promises those companies could make about what happens to the personal data these products capture.
Louis J. Freeh has left Pepper Hamilton to rejoin Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, the law firm that saw all of its attorneys join Pepper Hamilton in 2012, the latter confirmed.
The legal community set a new record in 2015 for the number of law firm mergers, with Pennsylvania firms comprising nearly 11 percent of that record-high.
David L. Pollack, a partner in the real estate department of Ballard Spahr in Philadelphia, spoke at the American Bankruptcy Institute's 2015 Winter Leadership Conference in Phoenix.
Edward W. Mullinix, a retired partner of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, died Dec. 9 at age 91.
Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young has defeated a long-running malpractice suit filed by former client Santander Bank, which claimed the firm failed to protect the bank's security interest in $95 million it was owed by a bankrupt mortgage servicer.
Fox Rothschild has announced its planned merger with Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly, a Minneapolis-based firm, which will grow total head count more than 10 percent to over 700 attorneys.
Robert R. Watson Jr. of Eastburn and Gray is set to serve as a faculty member of the 19th annual Pennsylvania Bar Institute's Real Estate Institute in Philadelphia on Friday.
Does what you say and what your client hears correlate? Is your vision of an outcome in line with your client's vision? Do you maintain sufficient communication with your client so, as the expression goes, you are "on the same page"? The client's view of our level of service often depends on the quality of communication and the similarity or difference in expectations.
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. 8 at the Union League, 140 S. Broad St., Philadelphia.
Two partners in the Pittsburgh office of dissolving energy boutique Burleson LLP, including its managing partner, have joined Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease.
Cincinnati-based Frost Brown Todd has opened a Pittsburgh office with 10 lawyers from disbanding energy boutique Burleson LLP.
Saul Ewing has joined a growing number of law firms across the country that are looking to use their legal acumen and business contacts to connect startups with investors, and hopefully get some of the resulting legal work.
Nearing the end of a year when gas prices dropped significantly and oil-and-gas-related title work opportunities became fewer, Pennsylvania energy attorneys said there is still work to be had in the market.
The latest data from national banks and consultants show revenue and demand lagging nationally in 2015 compared with 2014, and many are warning of a legal industry slowdown in the fourth quarter that could make for a rough start to 2016. That contrasts with the optimism found in The Legal Intelligencer's most recent Managing Partners Survey.
Lamb McErlane, a West Chester-based boutique firm, has hired two municipal attorneys from Philadelphia-based Conrad O'Brien, allowing it to reach a broader swath of clients throughout Chester County.
Despite the consistent drumbeat of a low-growth market for legal services, Pennsylvania law firms appear to have found a way to improve their financial performance while paying associates more and resorting to layoffs less.
Texas-based energy boutique Burleson LLP is set to close by year's end, the firm confirmed Monday.
Nearly eight years after the subprime mortgage crisis violently shook the U.S. economy, law firms representing lenders and servicers in foreclosure actions are continuing to feel aftershocks that are sometimes fatal.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane has hired lawyers from Littler Mendelson in Philadelphia to represent her in a civil suit filed by a former deputy in her office who alleged he was fired after testifying before the grand jury investigating Kane.
In a year they described as “strong” or “consistent,” a number of midsize firm leaders in Pennsylvania seem optimistic about their year-end results for 2015, and have an even brighter outlook for the year to come.
Philadelphia plaintiffs' firm Anapol Weiss has brought on the former Philadelphia office leader of a Pittsburgh-based plaintiffs' firm.
If in-house legal departments are holding tighter to their company's legal work and going to fewer law firms when they do send out work, the best time to get an "in" with a legal department may be when they switch general counsel. And that is also when existing firms need to fight to keep their relationships.
Pennsylvania law firms are trailing nearly every other region in some key financial metrics through the first nine months of the year, with bright spots coming in the form of improved collection cycles and an increase in attorney demand.
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. 8 at the Union League, 140 S. Broad St., Philadelphia.
The outgoing CEO of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association will be joining Duane Morris as the co-chief diversity and inclusion officer in January 2016.
Hope Krebs, a partner in Duane Morris, has been elected the first woman and second U.S.-based lawyer to lead Multilaw, an international network of law firms.
The Pittsburgh office of Jones Day will have new leadership for the first time in 12 years as the current managing partner takes over as head of the firm’s global rule of law initiatives.
A personal injury lawyer claimed in a lawsuit filed in federal court that his former firm broke its employment agreement with him, demanded reimbursement for case expenses, and threatened to sue his clients.
A five-lawyer insurance coverage group whose departure from Post & Schell in January spurred their new firm to change its name has now returned to Post & Schell.
Perhaps the biggest challenge currently facing law firms is the transition of client matters from the baby boomer generation to younger partners, Pennsylvania law firm leaders said.
Dechert has grown its Washington, D.C., office with the addition of the chairman of Baker Botts' white-collar crime and corporate investigations group, continuing a years-long trend for Dechert of hiring practice area leaders away from other Am Law 100 firms.
In the midst of a hiring boom, Lancaster-based Barley Snyder has acquired a total of six attorneys from a dissolving Lancaster firm, including four education lawyers with a focus on representing public-school districts.
The seven candidates for Supreme Court justice come from different regions and political parties, but they all think the state’s high court should take a step back from the ongoing offensive email scandal and allow an independent investigation to proceed.
A federal judge has denied a request by Coatesville School District officials to keep racist text messages from being admitted into evidence in a former teacher’s discrimination suit.
Justice J. Michael Eakin, speaking for the first time in any detail about offensive email chains he was involved in, apologized for any insensitive content and said he is fully cooperating with multiple reviews of his conduct.
While the number of support staff at law firms has generally decreased over the past decade or so, observers said, some firms are hiring nonattorneys with special skills in areas such as marketing, business development, administration and specific industries.
The passage rate for first-time takers of the Pennsylvania bar was at its lowest since 2003, the first year for which data was available from the state Board of Law Examiners.
Houston-based energy law firm Burleson LLP has laid off six attorneys in its Pittsburgh office, including the office managing partner.
Out-of-town firms with offices in Pittsburgh are beginning to bolster their attorney ranks thanks to a confluence of factors including both client opportunities and the focus by some indigenous firms on trimming lawyer head count in the city.
The insurance company for defunct law firm Wolf Block does not have to indemnify the firm over its failure to pay a former partner severance payments, a Philadelphia judge has ruled.
A federal judge has tossed three complaints filed against Pepper Hamilton, Blank Rome and Dechert filed by a law student who claimed the firms' decision not to hire him for a summer position violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
A trial has been scheduled for the former Fox Rothschild lawyer hit with insider-trading charges stemming from the 2012 Harleysville-Nationwide insurance merger.
In response to Valley Forge-based RatnerPrestia announcing a new office in Munich, leaders of other intellectual-property boutique firms in Pennsylvania said the move is unique and unlikely to start a trend.
Chartwell Law Offices is set to acquire the 22-lawyer Florida law firm Wadsworth Huott, bringing Valley Forge-based Chartwell to more than 110 attorneys, including 40 in the Sunshine State. The merger is expected to go into effect Oct. 5.
In a rare move for a firm of its size, intellectual property boutique RatnerPrestia is set to expand abroad with the Jan. 1 opening of an office in Munich.
Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia this past weekend meant law firm closures and, for some, more hype than proved necessary.
Pennsylvania law firms were split down the middle when it came to how well received their summer associate programs were this year as compared to last year.
Fox Rothschild appears to be the first Pennsylvania firm, and possibly only second firm nationwide, to elevate a partner to the role of chief privacy officer.
A mass torts attorney for The Beasley Firm has departed to start his own firm and serve as of counsel to a Midwest firm, seemingly leaving his former firm with no mass torts lawyers.
With less than a week before the World Meeting of Families kicks off the pope's visit to Philadelphia, law firms are still making decisions on whether and when to close down in a Center City that will largely be barricaded from Sept. 25-28.
Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young is in the midst of a fee dispute with an attorney and his parents over fees the firm claims it is owed for work representing the attorney in a civil suit filed by a Russian boy the lawyer was convicted of raping.
In hiring a Philadelphia tax lawyer from his solo firm, Post & Schell has launched a new practice group focused on tax disputes with federal, state and local authorities.
William Uchimoto, who spent time running the China practice groups for Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney and Stevens & Lee, said he was "shocked" to learn of the SEC's civil securities fraud charges leveled against him Sept. 10.
Comcast Spectacor has named Brian Rothenberg as the new general counsel of its live events unit, Spectra, the company announced Tuesday.
With the height of the initial Marcellus Shale bonanza several years out and gas prices remaining low, oil-and-gas-related title work has dropped off significantly, leaving some firms and companies facing cutbacks, furloughs and layoffs.
The majority of Pennsylvania law firms on this year's rankings of associate satisfaction by Legal affiliate The American Lawyer saw strong improvement, thanks in large part to both investments in technology and paying closer attention to what the associate committees had to say.
Dilworth Paxson is closing its Washington, D.C., location and choosing not to rebuild its New York office after a lateral defection that left that location without any attorneys, the firm's CEO has confirmed.
Dechert has expanded its reach in the Middle East through an association with the Law Firm of Hassan Mahassni in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Pennsylvania law firms are outperforming their national counterparts when it comes to demand, profitability and rate increases, according to a survey from the Legal Specialty Group at Wells Fargo Private Bank, which also shows a promising trend toward revenue growth at year's end.
The average starting pay for first-year associates in Pennsylvania will be noticeably higher for this fall's class, with several firms increasing pay to $160,000 or just below, according to the National Association for Law Placement and data submitted by the firms.
Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman has added two attorneys to its Pittsburgh office, the firm announced Monday, doubling the office's head count and expanding the firm's oil and gas practice.
A multimillion-dollar malpractice and fraud suit against Squire Patton Boggs over its 17-year relationship with client Alliance Holdings was withdrawn Wednesday, a few months after a settlement agreement appears to have been reached, court documents show.
Reading the legal press over the last two or so years could lead to the natural assumption that law firms are getting better at succession planning, particularly the planning part. A growing number of firms have announced new firm leadership and many have done so upward of a year in advance.
Morgan Lewis & Bockius has been focused on deepening its white-collar defense bench over the past several months, most recently adding Harvey Bartle IV as a partner in the firm's Philadelphia and Princeton, New Jersey, offices.
Board memberships have often been touted as great ways for attorneys to give back to the community and generate business contacts, but a recent situation involving Bill Cosby's defense counsel doubling as the chairman of Temple University's board highlighted why some firms have put tighter scrutiny on board affiliations.
Indicted Attorney General Kathleen Kane's tenure as Pennsylvania's top prosecutor is over whether she wants to acknowledge that or not. It's not a matter of if, but how and when, and how much more damage she's willing to inflict on herself and the state.
A federal judge has sent to arbitration an ADA case against Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin involving an attorney who said the firm didn't make accommodations for her fear of taking the elevator to her 24th-floor office.
Longtime Montgomery County attorney John Paul Knox died July 21 at age 87.
While Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has said she has no intentions of resigning in the wake of the criminal charges filed against her Thursday, the state attorney disciplinary system could impact her ability to practice law.
Dechert has expanded its international arbitration capabilities to the United States with the hire of two Weil, Gotshal & Manges partners in Washington, D.C.
The makers of Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella have agreed to provide nearly $56.9 million to establish a settlement program for plaintiffs claiming they suffered arterial blood clots as a result of taking the birth-control drugs.
A lawsuit filed by Mexican chicken breeders against pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Zoetis for producing faulty chicken vaccines will be litigated in Pennsylvania, a federal judge has ruled.
Large law firms have been quietly trimming partners, and many of those attorneys are not able to find new or similar positions given the premium placed on books of business, consultants have repeatedly said in recent months.
Saint Joseph's University has hired lawyers at Saul Ewing to represent it in two lawsuits filed over allegations of hazing in the women's softball program.
When more than 90 partners in seven months leave a law firm, no matter how large, eyebrows are raised and at least 91 different stories can be had about the cause. For K&L Gates, those stories have played out publicly across legal media in recent weeks as former partners and the firm's chairman offer up their explanations for departures across the 2,000-lawyer firm's increasingly global platform.