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,
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.
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
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.
IN THE NEWS
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.