Pepper Hamilton LLP at a Glance

The Buzz

  • “Well-managed”
  • “Great IP practice”
  • “Nondescript”
  • “Some groups have crazy hours”

About Pepper Hamilton LLP

Pepper Hamilton was founded 125 years ago in the City of Brotherly Love, where it strictly remained for 80 years. While it still maintains more of an East Coast presence, the firm has grown to over 500 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 mental 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 over 10,000 cases in his career, with some 2,000 before the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court and a more-than-impressive 168 before the United States 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; 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; and the representation of several Guantanamo Bay detainees.

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.


May 2015

You Don't Look a Day Over 124

Pepper Hamilton is celebrating the 125th anniversary of its founding this year. The celebration has a special focus on giving back, raising $125,000 to be donated to charities selected by the firm and its employees and a Week of Service in May, during which hundreds of the firm's lawyers, paralegals and staff in each office completed service projects for local nonprofit organizations. The firm unveiled a dynamic new website to mark its anniversary.  Social events are planned across the firm to bring together Peppers and clients to celebrate the firm's history as it looks forward to continued success in the future.

April 2015

Class Dismissed

Pepper's pharmaceutical and medical device litigation practice notched a series of important pretrial victories against putative class actions and other consolidated cases.  For GlaxoSmithKline, Pepper obtained dismissal of yet another putative class action case in the long-running multidistrict litigation involving diabetes treatment Avandia.  For Medtronic, the world's largest medical device manufacturer, Pepper notched major preemption victories in obtaining hundreds of dismissals involving its Infuse bone graft device.

Parlez-vous français?

In a $4 billion, tri-continental deal, Pepper Hamilton represented New Jersey-based IGATE Corp in its negotiation of a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by French information technology services company Capgemini.

November 2014

New Leadership

Thomas M. Gallagher, the chairman of Pepper Hamilton's White Collar Litigation and Investigations practice, was elected chairman of the firm's Executive Committee, succeeding former FBI Director and federal judge Louis J. Freeh.  Mr. Gallagher was a longtime federal prosecutor before joining Pepper.

Save Our City

On November 7, less than 16 months after Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in history and after a 27-day trial, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Steven Rhodes confirmed the city's historic plan of adjustment.  Long plagued by a shrinking tax base and large pension obligations, and lacking the resources to provide basic municipal services to its 680,000 residents, Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection in July 2013.  Pepper partners Bob Hertzberg and Deb Kovsky-Apap worked closely to help the city through its bankruptcy case and get back on the road to solvency.

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Pepper Hamilton LLP

3000 Two Logan Square
Eighteenth and Arch Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2799
Phone: (215) 981-4000
Fax: (215) 981-4750


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing Partner: Thomas J. Cole, Jr.
  • Hiring Partner: Sean P. Fahey
  • Total No. Attorneys 2015: 525

  • Employment Contact
    Kathryn M. Graham
    Director of Professional Recruitment
    Phone: 215-981-4043
    Fax: 866-646-6430

  • Base Salary
    Berwyn, PA; Philadelphia, PA; Princeton, NJ; Wilmington, DE
    1st year: $150,000
    Summer associate (2L): $2,700/week Boston, MA; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Orange County, CA; Silicon Valley, CA
    1st year: $160,000
    Summer associate (2L): $3,100/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    14 out of 14 (2Ls) (2014)

  • 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
    •   Life Sciences
    •   Real Estate
    •   Tax
    •   Trusts and Estates
    Intellectual Property Department:
    •   Intellectual Property Litigation
    •   Intellectual Property Transactions and Rights Management
    Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department:
    •   Commercial Litigation
    •   Construction
    •   Environmental and Energy
    •   Health Effects Litigation
    •   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
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