John J. Soroko currently serves as the firm's Chairman Emeritus, having served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Duane Morris from 2008 through 2017. A study of the firm's culture, and the firm's emphasis on collaboration, highlighting his leadership of Duane Morris, appears in the 2013 Harvard Business School case study entitled, "Collaborating for Growth: Duane Morris in a Turbulent Legal Sector," and in a 2018 profile published in The Pennsylvania Lawyer, entitled "The Right Temperament for Turbulent Times." In 2021, Mr. Soroko was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by American Lawyer Media, which recognizes lawyers "who during their careers have left an imprint on the legal history of Pennsylvania."
Mr. Soroko practices in the area of litigation, including significant appeals, with particular emphasis on general business, corporate and securities matters, including the defense of securities and other class actions. He also practices in the areas of professional liability for lawyers, as well as real estate, probate and fiduciary litigation.
Among many significant matters that he has handled in his career, on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants, was his representation of Pennsylvania judges before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in which he secured a ruling that declared as unconstitutional legislation which had repealed an increase in judicial salaries for over 1,100 Pennsylvania judges across the Commonwealth.
Mr. Soroko is listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business as one of two "Eminent Practitioners" in Pennsylvania for litigation, and as one of the "Leading Lawyers" in Pennsylvania in the areas of both general commercial litigation and securities litigation. He is also listed in Best Lawyers in America in the area of Commercial Litigation.
Mr. Soroko served on the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline and he concluded his service on that Court as its President Judge.
Mr. Soroko has served for the last 11 years as Co-Chair of the Judicial Nomination Advisory Panel for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which reviews and recommends nominations for federal judgeships. Mr. Soroko also served as Chair of the Advisory Panel in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to review and recommend the appointment of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Mr. Soroko also earlier served as a member of the transition team for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett. Mr. Soroko was a co-founder of the Philadelphia Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies.
Mr. Soroko serves as a Commissioner on the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission.
He is active in civic affairs, including serving as the Co-Director of the William B. Dietrich Foundation, a Trustee of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Free Library of Philadelphia, a Director of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Chair of the Corporate Executive Board of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He was formerly a director of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, and a director and treasurer of the Commonwealth Foundation, a free-market think tank based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and a member of the CEO Council for Growth of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. He is presently a member of the Parent Advisory Committee of the College Squash Association. Mr. Soroko is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Pennoni Honors College of Drexel University and of its Center for Civil Discourse.
Mr. Soroko is a 1977 graduate of New York University School of Law and a 1973 graduate of Haverford College. He has also completed a program of executive education at Harvard Business School. He has been a guest lecturer on topics relating to the legal industry at Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School and New York University's Stern School of Business.
He is a member of the Board of Advisors of Harvard Law School's Center on the Legal Profession and a director of Wescott Financial Advisory Group LLC, a wealth management firm.
Mr. Soroko is licensed as a foreign lawyer in Singapore.
Areas of Practice
- General business, corporate and securities litigation practice, including the defense of securities and other class actions; representation of financial underwriters, brokerage firms, banks, other financial institutions, and attorneys. Appellate practice. Real estate and probate litigation.
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- New York University School of Law, J.D., 1977
◦ Executive Editor, Journal of International Law and Politics
- Haverford College, A.B., 1973
- Harvard Business School, Leading Professional Service Firms Program, 2007
Duane Morris LLP
- Chairman Emeritus, 2018-present
- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, 2008-2017
- Vice Chair, 2005-2008
- Chair, Trial Practice Group, 2002-2008
- Member, Partners Board, 1996-present
- Partner, 1985-present
- Associate, 1977-1984
- Harvard Law School's Center on the Legal Profession
- Board of Advisors
- Master, University of Pennsylvania Law School Inn of Court
- Arbitrator, Philadelphia Stock Exchange (Panel Chairman)
- American Bar Association
- Business Law Section
- Section of Litigation
- Pennsylvania Bar Association
- Appointee, Task Force on the Multijurisdictional Practice of Law
- Philadelphia Bar Association
- Corporate Law and Securities Regulation Committee
-- Securities Regulation Subcommittee
- Federal Courts Committee
- Appellate Courts Committee
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- Co-Chair of the Judicial Nomination Advisory Panel
- Court-Appointed Mediator
- The Legal Intelligencer
- Editorial Board Member
Honors and Awards
- Presented with 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award by The Legal Intelligencer
Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, 2016-2022
Listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, 2006-2021 editions
Named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer, 2004-2021
- Listed in Best Lawyers Greater Philadelphia, 2016
- Listed in Super Lawyers, Corporate Counsel Edition, 2010
- Named to Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers, 500 Leading Litigators and 3000 Leading Lawyers
- AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
Civic and Charitable Activities
- Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) (2011-2015)
- Board of Directors
- Co-Director, William B. Dietrich Foundation
- Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees, Free Library of Philadelphia
- Trustee, Academy of Natural Sciences
- Director, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
- Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Corporate Executive Board
Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, CEO Council for Growth (2008-2017)
- The Commonwealth Foundation (1985-2009)
- Treasurer and Director
- The Pennsylvania Society
- National Steering Committee of Lawyers for McCain (2008)
Quoted in "First from Chesco, McSwain sworn in as US Attorney," Daily Local News, June 29, 2018
Featured in "The Right Temperament for Turbulent Times," The Pennsylvania Lawyer, May/June 2018
- Quoted in "Pennsylvania Powerhouse: Duane Morris," Law360, September 27, 2017
- Quoted in "Strong Pa. Business Base Helps Powerhouse Firms Thrive," Law360, September 25, 2017
- Mentioned in "Third Circuit Affirms Interest On NFLer's Island-Buy Restitution," Law360, September 7, 2016
- Quoted in "South Florida Experiencing 'Exponential Interest' From Law Firms With Varied Focus," Daily Business Review, July 2016
- Quoted in "Duane Morris on Verge of Singapore Joint Venture," The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 8, 2010
- Author, "Observations on the Greening of Philadelphia," The Pennsylvania Lawyer, September/October 2008
- Co-Author, "Deconstructuring the Jury System," The Legal Intelligencer, June 20, 1997
- Author, "Limitations on the Fraud Created the Market Theory in Municipal Securities Markets," Pennsylvania Association of Bond Lawyers Update, Vol. 2 No. 2 (April 1990)
Selected Speaking Engagements
Speaker, "What is the Right Method for Choosing Judges?," First Federalist Society Pennsylvania Statewide Conference, October 19, 2017
- Interviewed on "The Larry Kane Show" on CN8, the Comcast News Channel, October 29, 2010
- Panelist, "Best Practices for the Retention and Promotion of Women Lawyers," Philadelphia Bar Association's Women in the Profession Summit, Philadelphia, June 18, 2008
- Speaker, Delaware and Pennsylvania corporate law, Pennsylvania Bar Institute's Annual Business Lawyers' Institute, 2006, 2004 and 2003
- Speaker, "Historic and Artistic Preservation Litigation That Kept the 'Dream Garden' Mosaic in Place," American Bar Association Environment, Energy and Resources Section 75th Anniversary Reception, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 31, 2002
- Panelist, Annual Chancellor's CLE Program, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, March 27, 2001 on Bush v. Gore
- Speaker, "Franchisee Class Actions," American Bar Association Antitrust Law Section Spring Meeting, Washington, D.C., April 1, 1998
- Speaker, "Leadership Breakfast," The Annual Convention of the Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies, Washington D.C., 1994 and 1995
- Lecturer, "Opinion Letters in Securities Offerings," Philadelphia Bar Association Professional Education Committee Lecture Series, December 1990
- Lecturer and Author, "Considerations in the Defense of Counsel Involved in the Issuance of Municipal Bonds," Pennsylvania Association of Bond Lawyers Annual Meeting (and Course Materials), May 1990
- Lecturer and Author, "The Liability of Securities Lawyers Under Section 12 of the 1933 Act - Pinter v. Dahl," Committee on Securities Regulation, Philadelphia Bar Association, and with article appearing at The Philadelphia Lawyer, Vol. 23, No. 1 (December 1989)
- Lecturer, "Directors and Officers Liability Insurance," Pennsylvania Bar Institute Seminar on Commercial Insurance Coverage Litigation, 1988
- Lecturer, "AIA Documents Seminar," American Institute of Architects (Philadelphia Chapter), 1988
- Lecturer, "Legal Aspects of Employment in the Graphic Arts Industry," Moore College of Art, 1988-present
- Lecturer, "Tort Law Developments - 1988," The Dickinson School of Law, Advanced Legal Education Center, March 1988
- Lecturer, "Professional Liability," American Bar Association, Young Lawyers' Division Mid-Winter Meeting, and reported at ABA/BNA Lawyer's Manual on Professional Conduct, Vol. 4, No. 2 (February 17, 1988)
- Lecturer, "Contractor's Relationship with Project Architect/Engineer," General Building Contractor Association, Inc.
- Lecturer, "Claim Documentation and Defense," General Building Contractors Association, Inc.
- Lecturer, "Construction Claims," National Electrical Contractors Association Legal Seminar
- Lecturer, "Franchising Law and Litigation," Dickinson Law Forum, The Dickinson School of Law
- Lecturer, "Legal Malpractice," Pennsylvania Bar Association (Lehigh and Lancaster County Bar Association Loss Prevention Seminars)