Recently released data on partner compensation and origination seem to paint a bleak picture for Philadelphia's legal market, but they may just be reflecting a return to normal after a particularly strong rebound from the recession.
Law Firm News
Tressler, a Chicago-based insurance coverage and defense law firm, has opened a Pittsburgh office and hired a managing partner in Newark, expanding its presence on the East Coast.
In a legal market still plagued by gender-based pay inequity, midsize and small firms have the ability, and some say responsibility, to carefully track how partner compensation is determined and make sure it is not affected by gender bias.
Nearly a decade ago, Offit Kurman planted a flag in Philadelphia, opening an office with one lawyer. Now, the Baltimore-born firm has 30 lawyers in Pennsylvania, after adding three principals to the Philadelphia office in six weeks, and says Philadelphia could become its largest office.
A Philadelphia judge said he would have awarded a lawyer $900,000 in a malpractice suit against her divorce attorneys, but he found the claim was time-barred under a theory he said the Pennsylvania Superior Court may well reverse.
A tax controversy partner from Pepper Hamilton has left to join Baker & Hostetler's growing Philadelphia office.
Dilworth Paxson has brought in new leadership for its patent practice with the hire of a Barnes & Thornburg partner.
A partner in McCarter & English's Philadelphia office has joined Post & Schell as a principal and chairman of the firm's corporate practice group.
After a ruling in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court last week sent an unfriendly message to the energy industry, energy law practices in the state will be tasked with explaining Pennsylvania's ever-changing legal requirements for the industry, and challenging the new local rules that will likely take shape.
Michael Saile Jr. and John Cordisco are forming their own firm.
In a client-driven legal market, law firms are constantly seeking ways to stand out as providing unique services and better value, even if it requires a long-term investment. And for some firms, that means pulling in skilled professionals with training and experience in other industries.
Archer & Greiner has added another former member of Philadelphia's Law Department to its ranks, bringing on former Philadelphia city solicitor Shelley R. Smith as a partner.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Bruce Beemer has continued building out the leadership team that will advise him for the four or so months he is slated to have the job.
As law firms look to staffing adjustments as a way to maintain or fatten their profit margins, and young lawyers seek alternate employment routes in lieu of the traditional partner track, the role of contract attorneys is likely to gain prominence, legal industry observers said.
In a fee dispute involving a Philadelphia lawyer it dismissed in 2012, Offit Kurman has been allowed to file certain information regarding the firm under seal, but was not granted the blanket seal on discovery materials it sought. The firm is facing allegations that it failed to comply with its promise to pay origination fees to an attorney after he left the firm.
In a first-impression issue, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has affirmed the dismissal of a lawyer's unjust enrichment claim against litigation funders, ruling that the fee agreement between them and the plaintiff could not be enforced.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to give a second chance at recovering damages for attorney fees to a law firm that was denied breach of contract damages because the lawyer who entered the agreement was not a partner.
After languishing on the docket for months, a largely sealed lawsuit between Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and a former partner who left the firm after allegations he shared confidential client information has settled.
Energy companies and the state Department of Environmental Protection are seen as the biggest and most likely targets of litigation that attorneys anticipate will flow from a series of much-anticipated oil and gas regulations expected to take effect this fall.
As Pennsylvania's energy industry prepares for a new set of regulations, expected to take effect this fall, law firms with energy and environmental practices in the state are gearing up to provide guidance about what those regulations will require.
There are many different types of litigators, but they all share one common trait: adaptability.
Ballard Spahr has rehired a data privacy and intellectual property attorney from the University of Pennsylvania, where she spent two years working in data privacy issues related to HIPAA compliance.
A former Post & Schell shareholder who was most recently in-house at an energy company has returned to the firm as a principal in its environmental, energy and utilities and Marcellus Shale practice.
White and Williams has added to its litigation bench in Philadelphia, bringing in veteran trial attorney David H. Marion as senior counsel.
The former chief legal counsel for Aria Health, Rafael Villalobos, has joined Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott as a member, allowing the firm to offer a greater variety of health law services.
Almost three years after Duane Morris developed a proprietary system for analyzing the anatomy of its cases for pricing purposes, the firm has trademarked its logo for the tool, DNA.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has declined to take up a case over an alleged improper referral, rejecting Bochetto & Lentz's appeal and finalizing a summary judgment order in favor of defendant and attorney A. Harold Datz.
Pennsylvania midlevel associates generally reported high levels of satisfaction, with a few firms making major jumps in national rankings, in a recent survey conducted by Legal affiliate The American Lawyer. But some firms showed noteworthy declines in associate satisfaction, with survey responses revealing complaints about compensation or workload.
Pennsylvania firms are not immune from a nationwide dip in demand, which industry observers predict will lead to layoffs, but the impact in Pennsylvania may not be as severe as in other regions, where more firms have raised first-year associate salaries to $180,000.
James J. Eisenhower, a longtime white-collar defense lawyer with roots in federal prosecution, has joined Dilworth Paxson as a partner in Philadelphia.
While Philadelphia-area firms were looking better than the rest in the first half of 2016, based on revenue data collected by Wells Fargo Private Bank's Legal Specialty Group, the second half of the year is likely to show a drop-off.
Pennsylvania law firms outperformed the national averages for revenue and profit growth in the first half of 2016 thanks to strong inventory coming into the year along with improved collection cycles and significant expense management, according to a recent report by Citi Private Bank's Law Firm Group.
While Pennsylvania's natural gas production is on the rise, energy lawyers in the state said that will not have an immediate impact on their practices. But, they said, the numbers forecast a bright future for multidisciplinary energy practices in Pennsylvania, as well as the overall state economy.
In the midst of a jarring decline in demand for legal services nationwide, some Pennsylvania firm leaders said transactional practices are suffering, as corporate clients become more selective in their work with outside law firms.
Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel has lost its bid to arbitrate a lawsuit filed against the firm by a former associate who alleged its billing rate allocation denied associates their fair share of bonuses.
A western Pennsylvania bankruptcy firm that changed hands in the midst of a now-suspended principal's disciplinary troubles has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Bennett Bricklin & Saltzburg is opening an office in Wilkes-Barre, with the addition of a defense litigator from Thomas, Thomas & Hafer.
Ken Trujillo, a Philadelphia litigator from Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis and a player in the local political scene, has left the firm to join Houston-based Chamberlain Hrdlicka and grow its Philadelphia presence.
Clients of Ballard Spahr want the firm's suit against them thrown out, arguing the law firm has no claim to a cut of the proceeds from a merger that resolved antitrust litigation Ballard filed on their behalf.
While certain firms made individual gains in attorney diversity since last year, improvement in the number of minority and female trial attorneys remained sluggish from 2015 to 2016, based on The Legal's ninth annual survey examining diversity at the largest plaintiffs firms in the state.
Kimberly Kitchen's past began to unspool two years ago. Kitchen was, by all accounts, a generous member of the Huntingdon community whose volunteer work with charitable organizations made her a familiar face around town. She was also a forger who practiced law without a license, for which she was found guilty in March of two misdemeanors and a felony. As she prepares to be sentenced Tuesday, the Huntingdon County bar is picking up the pieces left behind by her ruse.
In the wake of last month's Brexit vote, and in preparation for the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union, some large Pennsylvania firms are looking to expand operations in Germany.
Fox Rothschild has hired two longtime partners from Blank Rome who were conflicted out of their former firm after it acquired more than 100 partners and new practices from Dickstein Shapiro earlier this year.
As evidenced by a recent Pennsylvania Superior Court ruling invalidating an alleged fee-splitting arrangement between a law firm and an outside consultant, questions about the proper way for attorneys to pay nonlawyers who help generate business still arise frequently.
Dilworth Paxson's attorney head count has taken some noticeable hits in recent months, leading some to express concern for the firm's future, but its leader said he is encouraged by the shape Dilworth has taken since he began implementing a new strategy more than two years ago.
While Pennsylvania's largest law firms maintained a steady head count overall in 2015, a number of firms experienced noticeable gains and decreases due to mergers, strings of departures or group moves, according to data reported by Legal affiliate The National Law Journal.
As law firms nationwide experience a record pace for mergers and acquisitions, Philadelphia-area firms have accounted for a significant share of the activity.
We asked several prominent Pennsylvania lawyers how they managed the stress of studying for the bar exam.
Two medical malpractice attorneys from Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, including the co-chair of that practice, have joined Burns White, further adding to the latter firm's growing litigation bench.
Gregory P. Miller, a former managing partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath, has joined JAMS.
While Reed Smith has seen departures from its Pittsburgh office in recent months, the firm has been growing in Philadelphia where it brought on two new litigators last week.
The future will be the focus for Ezra Wohlgelernter, the incoming head of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association
The following attorneys were selected to receive Lifetime Achievement Awards. Read More
Longtime Dilworth Paxson attorney Richard L. Fox has been hired by Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney.
As large firms across the country beef up their intellectual property practices, Pennsylvania firms have played a major role in the lateral and acquisition activity, and firm leaders expect these hires and deals to continue in the near future.
Stacey Meadows, who served Thomas Jefferson University Health System as senior vice president and general counsel for 16 years, has joined legal and consulting firm Saxton & Stump.
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.
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.