From its hub in Philadelphia to offices in Northern California
to outposts in Singapore and Vietnam and back around to London,
Duane Morris may be taking a Ferdinand Magellan approach to legal
industry domination. The firm's specialties include litigation,
corporate law, intellectual property, business reorganization and
financial restructuring, employment and immigration, energy, health
law, real estate and wealth planning.
Go West, More West, and Then a Little Farther
Founded in 1904 by Russell Duane, a descendant of revolutionary
polymath Benjamin Franklin, Duane Morris has exponentially grown in
staff and locations from its early twentieth century beginnings.
Under the leadership of Sheldon Bonovitz, who took the helm in 1998
when the firm held a legal team numbering around 200, Duane Morris
more than tripled its attorneys on staff.
And in recent years, the firm has continued to strategically
grow, especially by picking up lawyers from firms that haven't
fared so well. In 2008, Duane Morris hired a team of construction
lawyers from Thelen; the next year, it brought a group of attorneys
on board from Wolf Block. Most recently, in 2012, Duane Morris
hired 16 attorneys from Dewey & LeBoeuf, expanding its
insurance, energy and technology practices in the process. And most
recently, in 2013, the firm opened offices in Silicon Valley-where
its attorneys will focus on patent litigation and patent
prosecution, trademarks and copyrights, venture capital, private
equity and related commercial litigation-and Muscat, Oman.
A Specimen of Study
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Noting that Duane Morris tripled in size in just 12 years, Harvard
Business Professor Boris Groysberg once commissioned a study of the
firm for his business students. Called "Duane Morris: Balancing
Growth and Culture at a Law Firm," Groysberg found that, despite
its rapid expansion, Duane Morris had maintained its "Quaker
values" along with an "unusually narrow" spread between the highest
and lowest partner compensations, according to the ABA
Journal. The study also noted Duane Morris' practice of
emphasizing lateral hires in its recruitment practices.