Letter from the Chairman

John Soroko

It has been very gratifying to see Duane Morris' alumni network expand across various industries and geographic boundaries, with our alumni increasingly moving into many leadership roles and positions of significant responsibility.

Judge Midge Rendell

Among our most distinguished alumni is the Honorable Marjorie ("Midge") Rendell, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Midge's impressive accomplishments, both on and off the bench, exemplify the true meaning of the term "public servant." I am delighted that we can have Midge share her memories from her years at Duane Morris, as First Lady of Pennsylvania and as a judge in this edition of Alumni Spotlight.

Many people have remarked about the extent to which our Firm has been something of an "incubator" for legal talent that has gone on to serve on state and federal benches. In addition to Midge, the list includes: Gene Pratter and Michael Baylson, who, following their tenures at the Firm, both went on to serve as judges on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Also serving in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania alongside of Gene and Mike are alums James Knoll Gardner, Edmund Ludwig and Jerry Pappert. The Firm’s longstanding strength in bankruptcy law is illustrated by our alumni who went on to serve as bankruptcy judges, including: Karen Overstreet in the Western District of Washington; Neil Olack in the Southern District of Mississippi; Robert Grossman in the Eastern District of New York; Jim Peck in the Southern District of New York; and Neil Bason in the Central District of California. Also in California, Karen Crawford is a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of California, and the latest Duane Morris alumni to become judges are Sallie Kim (now a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of California) and Yvette Roland (now a judge on the California State Bar Court). Alum Bill Capp is an Administrative Patent Judge in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In New Jersey, Susan Claypoole is a judge in the Criminal Division of the Superior Court. Alum Phyllis Beck was the first woman to serve as a judge on the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and her daughter Alice Beck Dubow followed her footsteps at both Duane Morris and as a judge (currently serving on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas). In Chester County, Pennsylvania, Edward Griffith serves as a judge on the Court of Common Pleas and Lori Novak Donatelli is a Magisterial District Judge. Also in Pennsylvania, J. Brian Johnson serves as a judge on the Court of Common Pleas in Lehigh County and Edward ("Pete") Biester (father of current Duane Morris partner Ed Biester) served for many years as judge on the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas.

In addition, alum Cynthia Baldwin served as a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice before joining the Firm, just as Max Davison and the late Bill O’Donnell served as Court of Common Pleas judges in Chester and Lehigh counties, respectively, prior to joining Duane Morris. In Massachusetts, alum Dan Winslow served as a state court judge prior to joining the Firm. Notably, G.P. Selvam served as a judge on the Supreme Court of the Republic of Singapore.

In addition, the current head of the Firm's Appellate Practice, Rob Byer, served as a judge on Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court and also as a judge on Pennsylvania's Court of Judicial Discipline prior to joining Duane Morris.

All of this speaks volumes about how Duane Morris is regarded in judicial and governmental circles. It's something of which all members of the Firm, past and present, can be genuinely proud.

With so many alumni stretching across the judicial landscape (and memory stretched to its limits), please do let me know of others we have possibly missed and, as always, share any ideas you have for the next edition of Alumni Spotlight. Please contact me at or contact

With kindest regards,