About Pepper Hamilton LLP

Pepper Hamilton was founded more than 125 years ago in the City of Brotherly Love, where it strictly remained for 80 years. In 1969, it opened its first offices outside of Philadelphia in Washington, DC and Harrisburg, Pa.  While it still maintains an East Coast presence, the firm has grown to more than 450 attorneys in offices across the United States, including California offices in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Orange County.

Some Pepper With Your Con Law?

Pepper Hamilton traces its roots back to 1890, when George Wharton Pepper and Bayard Henry opened a two-man shop in Philadelphia. From the start, George Pepper was an intellectual force. An essay he wrote in his final year of law school would be cited 50 years later by Justice Brandeis in the famous (or infamous, to 1Ls) case of Erie Railroad v. Tompkins. Pepper was such a dominant force in matters of constitutional law that he not only successfully argued a large portion of The New Deal was unconstitutional, but the court quoted his oral argument in full in its opinion.

Capitol Cronies

In 1954, the firm merged with Evans, Bayard, and Frick, a firm founded by another intellectual giant: John Johnson. Johnson was the son of a blacksmith, and after a few years of working as a document clerk at a law firm, he passed the Pennsylvania bar, never having attended college or law school. Johnson would go on to handle more than 10,000 cases in his career, with some 2,000 before the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court and a more-than-impressive 168 before the U.S. Supreme Court. Among Johnson's clients were Standard Oil and U.S. Steel.

In 1955, after being with the firm for 65 years, George Pepper stepped down as chairman and was succeed by John Hamilton. After graduating from law school, Hamilton was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives, eventually rising to the rank of Speaker of the House and also chairman of the Kansas Republican Party. In 1936, Hamilton gained a prestigious position on the national scene, serving as chairman of the Republican National Committee. After retiring from politics, he moved to Philadelphia and put his name on the Pepper Hamilton shingle. One of Hamilton's most noteworthy cases was the defense of Harry Gold, the confessed courier for Soviet spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

Some of Pepper Hamilton's notable cases in more recent times include the Dover, Pa. school district "intelligent design" dispute dubbed "Scopes II;" precedent-setting defense rulings on behalf of drug and device manufacturers; acting as special counsel to the city of Detroit in its bankruptcy case; big wins in patent litigation before the International Trade Commission; obtaining defense jury verdicts-twice in three years-in a long-running antitrust case for Mack Trucks; conducting investigations into misconduct at institutions of higher learning; representing several Guantanamo Bay detainees; successfully arguing against federal organ transplant rules that unfairly limited transplants for individuals under the age of 12 on behalf of two children battling cystic fibrosis; working with organizations in Delaware to improve solitary confinement conditions and mental health treatment services for inmates; and representing refugee students in Lancaster, Pa. in a case that will protect the rights of immigrant students going forward.

Paving the Way

Pepper Hamilton made news in 2007 when it elected Nina Gussack as chair of the firm's executive committee. She was not only Pepper Hamilton's first female executive committee head, but the first woman to hold such a position at a large Philadelphia law firm. In early 2013, Gussack returned to practice full-time, chairing the firm's nationally recognized Health Effects Litigation Practice, a role she retained while serving as Executive Committee Chair. In 2017, Pepper Hamilton created a new Health Sciences Department, combining several of its practice areas in order to better serve clients in the industry, led by Gussack.


April 2017
You Know What's Cool? Billions.

Pepper Hamilton closed more than 20 deals in the first quarter of 2017 with combined transaction values in the billions, including a $1.4 billion merger between American Realty Capital-Retail Centers of America, Inc. and American Finance Trust, Inc.  Additional transactions include Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC's merger with J. Smith Lanier & Co., an insurance brokerage firm; Audax Group's stock purchase of Women's Health Care Group, LLC and Regional Women's Health Group, LLC; and Penske Automotive Group's asset purchase of Car Sense Inc.

Getting Healthy

Pepper Hamilton created a new Health Sciences Department, which brings together lawyers from several of its premier practice areas-Health Effects Litigation, Health Care, Life Sciences, Intellectual Property, and White Collar/Government Investigations-in order to better serve clients in the industry.  The department is led by Pepper's former chairwoman, Nina Gussack, a nationally recognized leader in health sciences litigation and counseling.  The department serves a range of clients throughout the health care supply chain who develop, patent, license, manufacture, market or sell pharmaceuticals, medical devices, or other health-related therapies and who deliver or support the delivery of health care services.

Constructing a Leading Practice Area

Pepper's nationally ranked Construction Practice Group was shortlisted for the 2017 Chambers USA Award by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business. These awards reflect a law firm's preeminence in key practice areas, as well as notable achievements over the past 12 months, including outstanding work, impressive strategic growth, and excellence in client service. Pepper Hamilton's Construction Practice Group counsels clients on some of the biggest, most sophisticated construction projects in the world. The practice was ranked both nationally and for Pennsylvania in the 2017 edition of Chambers USA.

November 2016
The Future Is Female

Pepper Hamilton elected a six-person, all-female class of lawyers to the ranks of partner and of counsel.  Thomas Gallagher, chairman of the firm's Executive Committee, said, "We have elevated an exceptionally talented class of lawyers-all women-to our partnership and of counsel ranks. The women we promoted are all extraordinary lawyers.  It is doubly rewarding to see us continue to advance our commitment to diversity and inclusion at the same time."

Reforming Prisons

Lawyers from Pepper Hamilton teamed with the ACLU and Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. in a successful effort to discontinue the practice of imposing solitary confinement on mentally ill inmates in the Delaware state prison system.  Inmates' stories formed the basis of the complaint, which alleged that the Department of Correction's practices were unconstitutional.  The team developed a list of changes that they wanted the DOC to make, and the parties negotiated and were able to reach a settlement agreement that will dramatically change the conditions of solitary confinement and essentially end solitary for mentally ill prisoners.

September 2016
Key Firm in the Keystone State

Pepper Hamilton was the winner in both the Class Action and Products Liability categories of The Legal Intelligencer's 2016 Litigation Department of the Year contest.  This biennial contest recognizes the important cases and victories of Pennsylvania law firms.  Pepper was one of only two firms to be named the winner of multiple categories for 2016's awards. The firm was previously honored as the 2012 Products Liability/Mass Torts Litigation Department of the Year.

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Pepper Hamilton LLP

3000 Two Logan Square
Eighteenth & Arch Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 981-4000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing Partner: Thomas J. Cole, Jr.
  • Hiring Partner: Daniel J. Boland
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 470

  • Base Salary

    Berwyn, PA; Philadelphia; Princeton; Wilmington
    1st year: $160,000
    Summer associate (2L): $2,900/week

    Boston; LA; NY; Orange County, CA; Silicon Valley
    1st year: $180,000
    Summer associate (2L): $3,100/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    18 out of 19 (2Ls) (2016)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Commercial Department: Corporate and Securities (M&A, Private Equity, Public Company Compliance, Venture Capital, etc.) • Corporate Restructuring and Bankruptcy • Employee Benefits • Financial Services • Real Estate • Tax • Trusts and Estates

    Health Sciences Department    

    Intellectual Property Department: Intellectual Property Litigation • Intellectual Property Transactions and Rights Management

    Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department: Commercial Litigation • Construction • Environmental and Energy • Labor and Employment • White Collar Litigation and Investigations

Major Office Locations

  • Philadelphia, PA (HQ) • Berwyn, PA • Boston, MA • Detroit, MI • Harrisburg, PA • Los Angeles, CA • New York, NY • Orange County, CA • Pittsburgh, PA • Princeton, NJ • Silicon Valley, CA • Washington, DC • Wilmington, DE