In The News

Pennsylvania Powerhouse: Duane Morris

By Matt Fair
September 27, 2017
Law360

John Soroko

John Soroko

Matthew Taylor

Matthew Taylor

Robert Byer

Robert Byer

pa powerhouse

The firm's reputation for taking on high-profile appeals for marquee companies…has helped Duane Morris earn a spot as one of Law360's five Pennsylvania Powerhouses this year.

"I think we've earned our reputation because of the quality of the work that we have done, and we've had some great results for clients," said Rob Byer, the Pittsburgh-based chair of the firm's appellate group. …

Acting as a kind of testament to the quality of work the firm has been able to provide to its clients is the fact that the Philadelphia-based Duane Morris, which currently employs 221 attorneys across its two offices in the state, has been a mainstay in Pennsylvania's legal landscape since its founding in 1904.

"The firm, for a long time, has been a very important presence in the legal market starting off serving financial institutions, insurers, and then nuts-and-bolts industries in Pennsylvania on the manufacturing side," said Duane Morris Vice Chairman Matthew Taylor. …

"For about a 10-year period, we made that decision that, to be really successful and to stay current with our clients and to fuel growth in lawyer headcount, we needed to look outside of Philadelphia," Duane Morris Chairman John Soroko said. "So we started building out a national footprint."

Taylor said it was the firm's strong roots in the Philadelphia-area business community that gave it the ability to begin its national expansion efforts, which grew internationally, as the firm boasts offices in London, Oman, Singapore and beyond.

"When you look at some of the core businesses in Philadelphia with our banking institutions and large pharmaceutical companies, that has provided a good economic base from which to grow and to be in more places for our clients," he said. "That's the origin."

Currently, the firm maintains two offices in Pennsylvania: an 11-attorney outpost in Pittsburgh, which opened in the 1980s, and its main office in Philadelphia.

While Byer may oversee an appellate practice for Duane Morris that is nationwide in its scope, he has made a name for himself in Pennsylvania tackling precedent-setting legal issues and public policy matters in the state's highest courts. …

"It's an exciting practice, it's been an exciting few years for us, and each year, I think, gets better building on our past successes," he said. …

"One of our real strong suits in our health care," [Soroko] said. "Certainly, Pennsylvania is a leading state for health care, and with the many hospital systems we have here in Philadelphia and across the state of Pennsylvania." …

And even as law firms have found themselves in recent years competing more ferociously to meet client budget constraints, Taylor said that opportunities for economic growth in Pennsylvania made him bullish about the firm's own growth opportunities. …

At Duane Morris in particular, he said he hoped to see the firm beef up its roster of corporate and transactions attorneys in the state, where litigation has historically been at the forefront.

"We would want those lawyers to help us drive business and bring some clients to the firm from a transactional side to help balance the firm out a little more," he said.

To read Duane Morris’ full profile, please visit the Law360 website (subscription required).