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Past and Present

The law firm known today as Duane Morris was founded in Philadelphia in 1904. In the early 20th century, the partnership helped clients with any of the legal needs of the day, such as negotiating contracts between local business owners or handling the property issues regarding the sale of farmland. Our clients' needs have changed dramatically since then. Our 21st century lawyers are more likely to negotiate multimillion-dollar transactions between global corporations or handle intellectual property issues regarding the licensing of biotechnology discoveries.

From a partnership of four Philadelphia attorneys in 1904, the firm has grown to be among the 100 largest in the world. Duane Morris' more than 750 lawyers now work out of offices in North America, Europe and Asia to address clients' issues around the globe.

Throughout all the growth, Duane Morris always has been guided by the same principle. At the heart of our firm is a partnership, an agreement to work together in the pursuit of our clients' goals. Under the leadership of the firm's founders, and the influence of past and present chairmen, Duane Morris has embraced a culture of inclusiveness, congeniality and consensus building that is rare among law firms. Decades ago, Morris Duane, former chairman and descendant of two of the firm's founders, detailed the ideals and philosophies of service that our lawyers inherit from previous generations of Duane Morris partners, including:

"Integrity, reliability, lack of greed, good humor, hard work of high quality, a desire to be the best, willingness to sacrifice personal pursuits for the benefit of clients, involvement in civic affairs for the benefit of the community, tolerance of divergent views, concern for those less fortunate, devotion to our families, and among the partners and all others in the office a subordination of self for the welfare of the group and its clients which in the world of sports is known as teamwork."

While the partnership at Duane Morris may have grown beyond the founders' imaginations, their spirit of unity and dedication to client service continues to guide our firm and shape our future.

Timeline

1904

  • Duane, Morris, Heckscher & Roberts founded in Philadelphia
  • Russell Duane, descendant of Benjamin Franklin, co-founds Committee of 70 to defend the integrity of democratic elections

1917

  • Roland S. Morris named U.S. Ambassador to Japan

1945

  • Morris Duane becomes Chairman of Duane, Morris & Heckscher

1954

  • Duane, Morris & Heckscher celebrates its 50th anniversary

1966

  • William White becomes Chairman of Duane, Morris & Heckscher

1978

  • Jane Leslie Dalton first female elected to partnership at Duane, Morris & Heckscher

1979

  • Thomas M. Hyndman becomes Chairman of Duane, Morris & Heckscher

1983

  • Duane, Morris & Heckscher grows to more than 100 lawyers

1985

  • Duane, Morris & Heckscher opens an office in Wilmington

1986

  • Wescott Financial Advisory Group established as Duane Morris' first ancillary business

1989

  • A. John May becomes Chairman of Duane Morris

1994

  • Duane Morris opens an office in New York
  • Roland Morris becomes Chairman of Duane Morris
  • Marjorie O. Rendell, Duane Morris partner, appointed as a federal judge

1996

  • Duane Morris opens an office in Newark

1997

  • Duane Morris opens an office in Washington, D.C.

1998

  • Sheldon Bonovitz becomes Chairman of Duane Morris
  • Duane Morris recognized as a large mid-Atlantic regional law firm (approximately 240 lawyers and $80M in revenue)
  • Sheldon Bonovitz defines a strategy for Duane Morris to expand to a national platform
  • Duane Morris opens an office in San Francisco

1999

  • Duane Morris opens offices in Chicago, Houston, Boston and Miami

2000

  • Duane Morris expands to Europe with an office in London
  • Duane Morris opens an office in Atlanta

2001

  • American Lawyer recognizes Duane Morris as one of the U.S.' largest law firms for first time

2002

  • Duane Morris grows to more than 500 lawyers (doubling in size in only four years)
  • Michael M. Baylson, Duane Morris partner, appointed as a federal judge

2003

  • Duane Morris opens offices in San Diego and Pittsburgh
  • Duane Morris announces $1M grant to the People's Emergency Center Community Development Corp.

2004

  • Gene E.K. Pratter, Duane Morris general counsel, appointed as federal judge
  • Duane Morris celebrates 100th anniversary

2005

  • Barbara Adams, Duane Morris partner, appointed general counsel for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • Duane Morris opens an office in Los Angeles

2006

  • Duane Morris merges with California firm Hancock Rothert & Bunshoft
  • Duane Morris opens offices in Baltimore, Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe
  • Neil P. Olack, Duane Morris partner, appointed as U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge

2007

  • Jane Leslie Dalton, Duane Morris partner, named chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Duane Morris expands to Asia with offices in Singapore, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City

2008

  • John Soroko becomes Chairman of Duane Morris
  • Robert E. Grossman, Duane Morris partner, appointed as U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge

2009

  • Duane Morris grows to more than 700 lawyers (nearly tripling in size in just over a decade)

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2016