Pepper Hamilton LLP at a Glance


  • “Sophistication of practice groups”
  • “Extremely talented and smart attorneys”
  • “Independence”


  • “No 401(k) match”
  • “Compensation is lower than the market”
  • “The long hours”

The Buzz

  • “Diligent attorneys”
  • “Tough”
  • “Regional”
  • “Boys’ club”

About Pepper Hamilton LLP

Pepper Hamilton was founded over 120 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 offices in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Orange County, CA.

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 US 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, Pepper Hamilton transitioned to new firm leadership when former FBI Director and federal judge Louis J. Freeh was elected as chair of the firm's Executive Committee. Gussack continues 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 2012, the firm also broke new ground, hiring its first non-lawyer CEO, C. Scott Green. Green, the former executive director of WilmerHale, where he oversaw its operations including 1,400 employees in 10 offices around the world, holds an MBA from Harvard University and is a Certified Public Accountant. At Pepper, Green is responsible for the firm's strategic planning and business strategy efforts, as well as its operations.


May 2014

A Lifetime Achievement
Nina M. Gussack was selected by Philadelphia's Legal Intelligencer for its Lifetime Achievement Award, which is granted to those representing "the best the Pennsylvania legal community has to offer." She chairs the firm's nationally recognized Health Effects Litigation Practice Group and is the immediate past chair of Pepper's Executive Committee, the firm's governing body. When she was elected chair in 2007, Gussack became the first and only female top executive at a large Philadelphia law firm, and she is one of few women nationally to have headed a law firm.

December 2013

Conquering Cancer
Pepper Hamilton represented TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals, a leading developer of innovative cancer treatments, in its $50 million initial public offering, giving the company the capital it needed to further develop its own lead drug candidate and to pursue additional candidates. The company has since acquired (via merger) Shape Pharmaceuticals, a privately held, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company that is developing a topical gel to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, a rare type of cancer that begins in the white blood cells and attacks the skin. TetraLogic acquired Shape for $13 million in cash at closing.

November 2013

Go West Young Man
Marking the beginning of its expansion into Northern California-the center of the nation's high-technology industry-Pepper Hamilton opened a Silicon Valley office, complementing the firm's existing Los Angeles and Orange County offices and giving its top-notch Intellectual Property Department deeper West Coast roots.  Partners Gregory S. Bishop, Thomas F. Fitzpatrick and Andy H. Chan, all formerly with Goodwin Procter, launched the new office. In July 2013, Mark A. Kadzielski, along with four attorneys from Norton Rose Fulbright, joined Pepper's Los Angeles office to head its Health Care Industry Group, giving Pepper a national platform for this growing practice.

September 2013

Committed to Diversity
Pepper Hamilton was presented with the George B. Vashon Innovator Award by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, in recognition of the firm's pioneering partnership with the Villanova University School of Law. Pepper's initiative with Villanova is multifaceted, and it includes scholarships, lectures and a national summer program for minority students.

July 2013

A Special Master and an Expert Team
Louis J. Freeh, chairman of the firm's Executive Committee, was appointed by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier as a "special master" for an investigation into alleged misconduct by a lawyer who helped run BP's multimillion dollar settlement fund after the company's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Under the judge's order, Mr. Freeh and his team, which is comprised of Pepper lawyers and investigators from the firm's affiliate, Freeh Group International Solutions, LLC, are charged with "fact-finding as to any other possible ethical violations or other misconduct" within the settlement program. This engagement is ongoing.

June 2013

Lung Allocation Achievement
Pepper Hamilton represented the families of Sarah Murnaghan and Javier Acosta, two children hospitalized at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia while awaiting lung transplants, on a pro bono basis in their fight to overturn federal organ transplant rules that prevent children under age 12 from being placed on the adult transplant list (known as the "Under 12 Rule"). The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network approved a revision to the national lung allocation policy's "Under 12 Rule" as it pertains to lung transplants. Both Murnaghan and Acosta successfully received lung transplants in 2013.


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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 2013: 525

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

  • Base Salary
    Berwyn, PA; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Princeton, NJ; Wilmington, DE
    1st year: $140,000
    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
    19 out of 23 (2013)

  • 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 Corporate 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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