Pennsylvania Pulse

  • Mette Evans, SkarlatosZonarich Merge Pa. Legal Teams

    A search for a deeper bench of attorneys and staff that could stabilize two mid-sized Pennsylvania firms and fill in gaps in their client services fueled this week's completed merger between Mette Evans & Woodside and SkarlatosZonarich LLC.

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    Law Firms See Revenue Soar Amid Rate Hikes

    Law firm revenue soared by 9.5% during the first quarter of 2024, buoyed by a nearly comparable hike in billing rates compared to the similar period in 2023, according to a new report from Wells Fargo's legal specialty group.

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    Yoga Lawyer: A Way of Being In The (Legal) World

    More than a decade ago, a stressful job and a pile of physical ailments prompted attorney Cindy Pensoneau to take a deep dive into yoga. Today, she continues to work as both a lawyer and as a yoga teacher, illustrating the growing role that the ancient mind-body practice can play in improving attorney mental health.

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    GCs Help Companies Close The Gap On Mental Health Efforts

    While they wait for their companies to implement more wellness policies that reach the root causes of employees’ stress and burnout, some general counsel and chief legal officers are filling the gap to help their law teams feel more supported.

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    Here's Why This GC Went Public With Her Bipolar Diagnosis

    Kelly Rentzel, who has held several general counsel positions throughout her career, largely credits her law degree for giving her the confidence to talk publicly about her bipolar diagnosis — which is something she had contemplated for two decades before taking the initial steps that ultimately led her to a lectern.

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    Blank Rome Opens Boston Office With New 25-Atty Team

    Blank Rome LLP said Wednesday that it has opened a Boston office with 25 corporate and finance attorneys from Burns & Levinson LLP, including 13 partners.

  • Special Master Rejects Fee Bid In NFL Concussion Case

    Goldberg Persky & White PC should not receive a cut of legal fees for its unsuccessful efforts to receive a settlement that another law firm later secured for a former National Football League player related to concussion-linked disability claims, a special master has said.

  • ABA Knocks Down 'Implausible' Data Breach Class Action

    The American Bar Association members suing the organization over a data breach have not identified any security measures the ABA failed to take, a New York federal judge said Tuesday when nixing what the organization called the members' "implausible" proposed class action.

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    Attys Who Move Between Firms, Cos. Can Be Bridge Builders

    There has been a recent flurry of effective, seasoned attorneys leaving decadeslong careers at law firms and transitioning to positions at the top of corporate legal departments, and vice versa. How do these hires affect the attorney-client relationship in the long run?

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    Genova Burns Adds Labor, Bankruptcy Attys In Philly, NJ

    Genova Burns LLC expanded its offices in the Philadelphia area and New Jersey this week with the additions of attorneys specializing in labor and bankruptcy law.

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    Return To Office Poses Pitfalls For Atty Mental Health

    As a therapist specialized in treating lawyers, Stacey Dougan hears a lot about law firm politics, addiction and the career's overwhelming demands. But lately, her clients have been bringing up a new source of anxiety: returning to the office.

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    Ethics Probes Take Mental Toll On Solo, Small Firm Attorneys

    Facing a disciplinary complaint can take a toll on any attorney’s mental health. But for solo practitioners and small firm lawyers, who typically juggle all aspects of their business from handling client matters to administrative tasks like managing trust accounts, it can threaten to upend their lives.

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    Mid-Law Not Immune To Structural Mental Health Challenges

    Despite the common narrative that lawyers can trade higher pay for better well-being and work-life balance by moving to smaller firms, experts say that Mid-Law firms are generally facing the same industry pressures that contribute to long hours, stress and poor attorney mental health.

  • Pa. County Counters Sanctions Bid In Dominion Suit

    Local officials in Fulton County, Pennsylvania, have urged a federal judge to punish Dominion Voting Systems Inc. for its motion filed last month calling for sanctions against two county commissioners for filing an amended complaint in a breach of contract suit.

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    Casino Giant's Legal Chief Saw Comp Rise To $5.5M In '23

    A promotion to Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc.'s chief operating officer came with a bump in compensation to $5.5 million in 2023 for the company's general counsel, according to the Pennsylvania-based casino giant's public filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

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    The Best Therapy For Lawyers, According To Ex-Lawyers

    Attorneys-turned-therapists say no one understands the stresses of being a lawyer like another lawyer. They also say their clients sometimes struggle at first with treatment that prioritizes feelings, mindfulness and even body awareness over the intellectualizing and rationalizing that make them successful at their jobs.

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    How Dechert's Culture Helped Its SF Leader Forge Resilience

    When his 2-month-old daughter was hospitalized with a potentially fatal condition, Dechert partner Jonathan Stott leaned on firm mentors and colleagues for strength. Now, as managing partner of the firm's San Francisco office Stott is on a mission to pay it forward and continue fostering a supportive and resilient office community.

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    Atty Alcohol Misuse: What's Worked, What Hasn't, What's Next

    In the eight years since an ABA report revealed pervasive alcohol misuse among lawyers, the legal industry has sought to address the problem. Here is a look at what’s working, what isn’t, and how legal employers can effectively address law’s problem drinking crisis going forward.

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    Workload, Trauma, Isolation Impacting Judges' Mental Health

    Overwhelming caseloads, the secondary trauma from certain types of cases and a lack of peer support are the biggest stressors judges say they're facing, with many of them experiencing difficulty concentrating, remaining unbiased and treating litigants and lawyers with respect as a result.

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    Most Gen Z Lawyers Would Take A Pay Cut For Fewer Hours

    Money is no longer the top factor in many Generation Z lawyers' list of priorities, with three-fourths naming culture as the No. 1 factor they used in choosing a law firm, according to a new report released Monday by recruiting firm Major Lindsey & Africa and legal intelligence provider Leopard Solutions.

  • Law360 Reveals Titans Of The Plaintiffs Bar

    In the past year, plaintiffs have won settlements and judgments for millions and billions of dollars from companies such as Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Facebook and Fox News, with many high-profile cases finally wrapping up after years of fighting. Such cases — involving over-the-top compensation packages, chemical contamination, gender discrimination and data mining — were led by attorneys whose accomplishments earned them recognition as Law360's Titans of the Plaintiffs Bar for 2024.

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    Senators Urge ABA To Look Into Rape Questions On Bar Apps

    Several members of the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote to the American Bar Association on Friday urging it to study how state bar applications require would-be attorneys to disclose sexual violence.

  • Law360 Pulse Spotlight On Mid-Law Work

    Richards Layton & Finger PA and Desmarais LLP handling a suit against Pfizer over mRNA vaccine technology and Warner Norcross + Judd LLP's handling of a Midwestern bank merger lead this edition of Law360 Pulse's Spotlight On Mid-Law Work, recapping the top matters for Mid-Law firms from April 12 to 26.

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    Comcast's CLO Saw Compensation Top $11M In 2023

    Philadelphia-based media giant Comcast paid its chief legal officer and secretary more than $11 million in combined salary, bonuses and stock options and awards last year, according to the company's recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

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    Sacks Weston's Ch. 11 Bid Axed Over Likely Financial Decline

    A federal judge has rejected Philadelphia-based firm Sacks Weston LLC's plan to become solvent and dismissed its bankruptcy petition this week, saying the firm's financial decline is likely to continue.

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Expert Analysis

  • Series

    Ask A Mentor: How Can Firms Coach Associates Remotely? Author Photo

    Practicing law through virtual platforms will likely persist even after the pandemic, so law firms and senior lawyers should consider refurbishing their associate mentoring programs to facilitate personal connections, professionalism and effective training in a remote environment, says Carol Goodman at Herrick Feinstein.

  • How Law Firms Can Welcome And Celebrate Autistic Lawyers Author Photo

    As the U.S. observes Autism Acceptance Month, autistic attorney Haley Moss describes the societal barriers and stereotypes that keep neurodivergent lawyers from disclosing their disabilities, and how law firms can better accommodate and level the playing field for attorneys whose minds work outside of the prescribed norm.

  • Law Firm Tips For Evaluating AI And Machine Learning Tools Author Photo

    Many legal technology vendors now sell artificial intelligence and machine learning tools at a premium price tag, but law firms must take the time to properly evaluate them as not all offerings generate process efficiencies or even use the technologies advertised, says Steven Magnuson at Ballard Spahr.

  • A Call For Personal Accountability On Diversity And Inclusion Author Photo

    While chief legal officers are increasingly involved in creating corporate diversity, inclusion and anti-bigotry policies, all lawyers have a responsibility to be discrimination busters and bias interrupters regardless of the title they hold, says Veta T. Richardson at the Association of Corporate Counsel.

  • Learning How To Code Can Unleash New Potential In Lawyers Author Photo

    Every lawyer can begin incorporating aspects of software development in their day-to-day practice with little to no changes in their existing tools or workflow, and legal organizations that take steps to encourage this exploration of programming can transform into tech incubators, says George Zalepa at Greenberg Traurig.

  • Supporting Associates Amid Pandemic's Mental Health Toll Author Photo

    As junior associates increasingly report burnout, work-life conflict and loneliness during the pandemic, law firms should take tangible actions to reduce the stigma around seeking help, and to model desired well-being behaviors from the top down, say Stacey Whiteley at the New York State Bar Association and Robin Belleau at Kirkland.

  • The Importance Of Client Engagement In Law Firm Innovation Author Photo

    As clients increasingly want law firms to serve as innovation platforms, firms must understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach — the key is a nimble innovation function focused on listening and knowledge sharing, says Mark Brennan at Hogan Lovells.

  • The Unique Challenges Facing Women-Owned Law Firms Author Photo

    In addition to establishing their brand from scratch, women who start their own law firms must overcome inherent bias against female lawyers and convince prospective clients to put aside big-firm preferences, says Joel Stern at the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms.

  • The Pursuit Of Wellness In BigLaw: Lessons From My Journey Author Photo

    Jane Jeong at Cooley shares how grueling BigLaw schedules and her own perfectionism emotionally bankrupted her, and why attorneys struggling with burnout should consider making small changes to everyday habits.

  • Why We Must Recruit And Advance More Black Prosecutors Author Photo

    Black Americans make up a disproportionate percentage of the incarcerated population but are underrepresented among elected prosecutors, so the legal community — from law schools to prosecutor offices — must commit to addressing these disappointing demographics, says Erika Gilliam-Booker at the National Black Prosecutors Association.

  • Series

    Ask A Mentor: How Can Associates Deal With Overload? Author Photo

    Young lawyers overwhelmed with a crushing workload must tackle the problem on two fronts — learning how to say no, and understanding how to break down projects into manageable parts, says Jay Harrington at Harrington Communications.

  • A Scientific Path For Improving Diversity At Law Firms Author Photo

    Law firms could combine industrial organizational psychology and machine learning to study prospective hires' analytical thinking, stress response and similar attributes — which could lead to recruiting from a more diverse candidate pool, say Ali Shahidi and Bess Sully at Sheppard Mullin.

  • Series

    Ask A Mentor: How Can Associates Seek More Assignments? Author Photo

    In the first installment of Law360 Pulse's career advice guest column, Meela Gill at Weil offers insights on how associates can ask for meaningful work opportunities at their firms without sounding like they are begging. 

  • Legal Sector Regulatory Reform Is Key To Closing Justice Gap Author Photo

    In order to improve access to justice for those who cannot afford a lawyer, states should consider regulatory innovations, such as allowing new forms of law firm ownership and permitting nonlawyers to provide certain legal services, says Patricia Lee Refo, president of the American Bar Association.

  • Guest Feature

    5 Ways Firms Can Avoid Female Atty Exodus During Pandemic Author Photo

    The pandemic's disproportionate impact on women presents law firms with a unique opportunity to devise innovative policies that will address the increasing home life demands female lawyers face and help retain them long after COVID-19 is over, say Roberta Liebenberg at Fine Kaplan and Stephanie Scharf at Scharf Banks.

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