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NEWS
October 5, 2013 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
It appears that the death of "Big Law," so widely predicted a few years ago, has been greatly exaggerated. After a breathtaking pullback following the recession of 2008 and 2009, hiring at large law firms in Philadelphia and around the nation has revived. Large classes of first-year lawyers are arriving this week and next at many local firms, and while the numbers are not as high as they were before the financial crisis, some law-firm leaders have begun to talk of staff shortages and juggling legal personnel to meet surging client demand.
BUSINESS
April 25, 2010 | By Chris Mondics INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
It is 8 a.m., and lawyer Cecilia Isaacs-Blundin, crisply attired in a pin-striped suit and trailing a large roll-around briefcase, strides into her office, which on this day happens to be a jail in the fortresslike 25th District police headquarters in North Philadelphia. Her clients are not the big commercial companies she typically represents as a lawyer in Ballard Spahr L.L.P.'s white-collar defense practice. Rather, they are standard-issue criminal defendants, accused of a smorgasbord of street offenses including drug possession, dealing, and assault.
BUSINESS
April 12, 2009 | By Chris Mondics INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
David Koller is a bright, hyperkinetic 31-year-old lawyer who has spent the last seven years working his way up, moving from one firm to another in search of more challenging work and higher salaries to pay down his huge law school loans. His progress on that path came to an abrupt halt March 2. That is when the vicious downsizing rolling through the legal industry caught up with him. Just three months after receiving a glowing performance review, he was called into the office of the managing partner of Riper Riley Hollin & Colagreco, a politically prominent Chester County firm where he had worked since September 2007, and fired.
NEWS
January 6, 2008 | By Sally Friedman FOR THE INQUIRER
Law school is intense. Students cram their heads with torts, contracts, and criminal and civil procedure. They face grueling exams - the most daunting after graduation. But then, presumably, newly minted lawyers are ready for whatever comes next: a judicial clerkship, a job at a firm, service as prosecutors or public defenders. Except the switch from law student to lawyer isn't always easy. So the Burlington County Bar Association's Young Lawyer Committee has launched a symposium, "Bridging the Gap: Making the Transition From Law Student to Lawyer," to offer tips and hints from the pros.
BUSINESS
June 1, 2009 | By Chris Mondics INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
John F. Smith III is a senior litigator at Reed Smith L.L.P., of Philadelphia, who served for 11 years on the firm's executive committee and now, in addition to representing clients, is deeply involved in programs aimed at sharpening the business-development skills of young lawyers. Law firms for years had given such training short shrift, relying on a relative handful of relationship partners to generate work. Younger associates typically had little idea where the work came from, or what firms had to do to get it. Smith, who serves on the boards of a number of locally prominent institutions, says he is trying to change that by showing younger lawyers more of the business side of the law firm.
BUSINESS
August 2, 2016 | By Chris Mondics, Staff Writer
Salaries for first-year lawyers at big firms in Philadelphia are topping out at $180,000 a year to keep pace with New York competitors. The venerable Wall Street firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore got the ball rolling in June with the announcement that it would be raising first-year associate salaries by $20,000, to $180,000, and that associates with up to eight years at the firm would also get increases. In Philadelphia, Dechert L.L.P. matched Cravath's salary increase for first-years and also boosted pay for associates with more experience.
BUSINESS
December 31, 2015 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Big law firms in Philadelphia are boosting compensation for lawyers below the partner level in a sign that the competition for talent is heating up. The most dramatic example is at the University City-based firm of Dechert L.L.P., a global firm that touts its deal-making prowess in the United States and abroad. The firm paid first-year associates a $15,000 bonus this year, on top of annual salaries of $160,000. For associates with more experience, the bonuses were much higher, as much as $100,000 for lawyers who joined the firm in 2008.
NEWS
April 2, 2016 | By Kathy Boccella and Chris Mondics, STAFF WRITERS
Peter Mills Mattoon, 84, of Lafayette Hill, a longtime leader of the Philadelphia law firm Ballard Spahr, died Tuesday, March 29, at Jefferson University Hospital of injuries sustained in a fall. Mr. Mattoon started in Ballard Spahr's relatively staid estates practice, but it wasn't long before he began to work in the more glamorous precincts of major-league sports, where he represented the 76ers and their owner at the time, philanthropist Eugene Dixon Jr. His lawyering was so skillful that his colleagues at Ballard eventually elevated him to the role of firm chairman and he stayed in that leadership position for more than 16 years, until he stepped down in 1997.
NEWS
January 16, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
JON A. BAUGHMAN was an outstanding Philadelphia lawyer - but that's not all he was. "He was a man of total integrity, who loved life, loved his family and loved his job," said his lawyer son, Michael E. Baughman. His father was a man who delighted in feeding the homeless on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with his church, playing tennis and nurturing seeds in his garden in Fort Washington to produce corn, tomatoes and peppers and flowering fruit trees. But most of all, Jon Baughman, longtime partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP, was a family man. "I keep hearing what a great lawyer he was," said his son. "But he was an even greater father.
BUSINESS
August 1, 2015 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
After a lengthy drought, real estate lawyers are a hot commodity again. The biggest firms in Philadelphia and other cities with booming real estate markets say finding lawyers skilled in handling the zoning, tax, and transactional pieces of complex projects has become a near impossibility. There simply aren't enough lawyers to go around, and that has stretched existing practice groups and forced firms to move lawyers internally from other specialties. " Voracious is the word that I would use to describe what is going on," said Bart Mellits, chair of Ballard Spahr's real estate department, which has more than 100 lawyers.
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BUSINESS
August 2, 2016 | By Chris Mondics, Staff Writer
Salaries for first-year lawyers at big firms in Philadelphia are topping out at $180,000 a year to keep pace with New York competitors. The venerable Wall Street firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore got the ball rolling in June with the announcement that it would be raising first-year associate salaries by $20,000, to $180,000, and that associates with up to eight years at the firm would also get increases. In Philadelphia, Dechert L.L.P. matched Cravath's salary increase for first-years and also boosted pay for associates with more experience.
NEWS
April 2, 2016 | By Kathy Boccella and Chris Mondics, STAFF WRITERS
Peter Mills Mattoon, 84, of Lafayette Hill, a longtime leader of the Philadelphia law firm Ballard Spahr, died Tuesday, March 29, at Jefferson University Hospital of injuries sustained in a fall. Mr. Mattoon started in Ballard Spahr's relatively staid estates practice, but it wasn't long before he began to work in the more glamorous precincts of major-league sports, where he represented the 76ers and their owner at the time, philanthropist Eugene Dixon Jr. His lawyering was so skillful that his colleagues at Ballard eventually elevated him to the role of firm chairman and he stayed in that leadership position for more than 16 years, until he stepped down in 1997.
BUSINESS
December 31, 2015 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Big law firms in Philadelphia are boosting compensation for lawyers below the partner level in a sign that the competition for talent is heating up. The most dramatic example is at the University City-based firm of Dechert L.L.P., a global firm that touts its deal-making prowess in the United States and abroad. The firm paid first-year associates a $15,000 bonus this year, on top of annual salaries of $160,000. For associates with more experience, the bonuses were much higher, as much as $100,000 for lawyers who joined the firm in 2008.
BUSINESS
December 9, 2015 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Gaetan Alfano, a name partner in a Center City law firm known nationally for its work in commercial litigation and whistle-blower lawsuits, is scheduled to make his inaugural address as chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association on Tuesday amid concern over the group's flat membership and complaints it has lost relevance. Alfano, a member of Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti L.L.P., argued in a recent interview that the association remains critical to the lives of lawyers in Philadelphia, and pointed to initiatives such as efforts to block a proposed sales tax on professional services under consideration in Harrisburg.
BUSINESS
August 1, 2015 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
After a lengthy drought, real estate lawyers are a hot commodity again. The biggest firms in Philadelphia and other cities with booming real estate markets say finding lawyers skilled in handling the zoning, tax, and transactional pieces of complex projects has become a near impossibility. There simply aren't enough lawyers to go around, and that has stretched existing practice groups and forced firms to move lawyers internally from other specialties. " Voracious is the word that I would use to describe what is going on," said Bart Mellits, chair of Ballard Spahr's real estate department, which has more than 100 lawyers.
NEWS
January 16, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
JON A. BAUGHMAN was an outstanding Philadelphia lawyer - but that's not all he was. "He was a man of total integrity, who loved life, loved his family and loved his job," said his lawyer son, Michael E. Baughman. His father was a man who delighted in feeding the homeless on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with his church, playing tennis and nurturing seeds in his garden in Fort Washington to produce corn, tomatoes and peppers and flowering fruit trees. But most of all, Jon Baughman, longtime partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP, was a family man. "I keep hearing what a great lawyer he was," said his son. "But he was an even greater father.
NEWS
October 5, 2013 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
It appears that the death of "Big Law," so widely predicted a few years ago, has been greatly exaggerated. After a breathtaking pullback following the recession of 2008 and 2009, hiring at large law firms in Philadelphia and around the nation has revived. Large classes of first-year lawyers are arriving this week and next at many local firms, and while the numbers are not as high as they were before the financial crisis, some law-firm leaders have begun to talk of staff shortages and juggling legal personnel to meet surging client demand.
NEWS
August 11, 2013 | By Jane M. Von Bergen, Inquirer Staff Writer
In 2008, U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle wound up with a political hot potato in his caseload. The Camden federal judge had to rule on one of the "birther" lawsuits - filed in courts across the nation by people contending that presidential candidate Barack Obama was not qualified for the job because he was not a "natural-born citizen" of the United States. No matter how a judge ruled, accusations of playing politics would inevitably ensue, said Simandle, now chief judge of New Jersey's federal court system.
BUSINESS
December 5, 2012 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Kathleen Wilkinson has made a career litigating disputes over matters as varied as employment law and construction accidents. Now she is about to take over as chancellor of the 13,000-member Philadelphia Bar Association, a task that arguably is as demanding as representing a corporate client in a high-stakes lawsuit. But, given the complexity of Philadelphia's legal community, it is also a role that requires a measure of political skill. Wilkinson, who will give her inaugural address Tuesday at the bar association's annual meeting and luncheon, says fast-paced changes in the legal profession have imposed a changed agenda on the group.
BUSINESS
September 24, 2012 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
He was the ultimate lawyer role model, a valiant fighter for human rights who battled against steep odds. The fondest hope of many young lawyers a generation ago was to be like the dashing Gregory Peck as he played Atticus Finch in the film To Kill a Mockingbird . Such was the case for Michael Fitts, dean of the University of Pennsylvania law school, who saw Finch as the embodiment of lawyerly ideals. To Fitts, Finch was a lawyer of incomparable decency, courage, and sure-handedness, as fine a lawyer prototype as you might want.
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