Jerome Richter, a longtime leader of Blank Rome law firm

Jerome Richter
Jerome Richter
Posted: August 22, 2012

Jerome Richter, a longtime leader of the Blank Rome law firm who played a key role in its expansion in the United States, died Sunday at his home in Florida after a seven-month battle with cancer. He was 73.

Richter was a senior partner at Blank Rome before his retirement in 2009 and had played a prominent role in recruiting lawyers and managing overall growth strategy. He was known as an accomplished strategist and trial lawyer who also handled major appellate cases and had argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Jerry was one of the most important partners at Blank Rome," former firm chairman and managing partner David Girard-diCarlo, now practicing with Cozen O'Connor, said in a telephone interview from his home in New Mexico. "I always described him as a three-dimensional chess player: He saw moves before other people anticipated them."

As outside counsel for the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance, Richter helped oversee the attempted financial rehabilitation of Reliance Insurance Co., which was placed into court-ordered liquidation in 2001. At the time, it was the largest property and casualty insurance insolvency in U.S. history. Over the course of his career, he also represented SEPTA and state agencies including the Auditor General's Office.

Richter, who joined Blank Rome in 1969, was named partner four years later and long served on the firm's management and compensation committees. He helped with recruiting new lawyers and sat on the committee that determined compensation for the firm's lawyers.

Blank Rome co-chairman and managing partner Alan J. Hoffman said that younger lawyers looked up to Richter, and that he had served as a mentor to many of them.

"Many of the leading litigators in the firm today all were part of Jerry's team," Hoffman said.

Born in Philadelphia on July 23, 1939, Richter earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania before enrolling in Temple Law School. He began his career as a law clerk for Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Joseph Sloane.

He later served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia and as an assistant city solicitor. He spent his entire private-practice career at Blank Rome and long served as the firm's litigation chair.

Girard-diCarlo said that, for a time, while Richter was a partner at Blank Rome, his wife, Sheryl Auerbach Richter, also was a lawyer with the firm. She left to join the Philadelphia firm of Dilworth Paxson, where she became a partner, after the couple concluded that Jerome Richter's position as a senior manager of Blank Rome posed potential conflicts for the couple.

Richter was a confidant of firm founders Marvin Comisky and Edwin Rome, and his career spanned a time of steady growth as the firm expanded its presence across the country. The 500-lawyer firm now has 12 locations, including offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong. When Richter joined the firm in 1969, it had 45 lawyers.

Richter is survived by his wife; a sister; five children, Silvia Schencker, Melanie Dickinson, Will, Lauren Chandler, and Jonathan; and grandchildren.

Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Har Zion Temple, 1500 Hagys Ford Rd., Penn Valley. Interment will be at Haym Salomon Memorial Park.

Memorial contributions may be made to Jupiter Medical Center, 210 S. Old Dixie Highway, Jupiter, Fla. 33458.

Contact staff writer Chris Mondics at 215 854 5957 or

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