70 Years in Review

Celebrating Growth, Service, and Leadership

1946-1966

1946-1966
28
ATTORNEYS
icon-people
$6500
STARTING SALARY
dollar
1
LOCATION
icon-location
Samuel Blank and William Rudenko
Early partners and their wives.

Samuel Blank and William Rudenko formed the law firm of Blank & Rudenko in 1946, to overcome religious discrimination in the legal industry at the time. They were joined shortly thereafter by Mort Klaus. While the Firm focused closely on corporate, labor, and real estate law, it was already thinking about the “whole client.” The Firm bulked up with litigators to meet the deluge of disputes related to social legislation, labor laws, banking regulations, and taxes set loose by the Great Depression and WWII. Alfred Luongo and Edwin Rome joined the Firm early on, among others.

Known as Blank, Rudenko & Klaus, the Firm acquired Brumbelow & Comisky in 1959 and Newman & Master in 1961, strengthening its litigation and real estate specialties. Jack Bershad, chairman from 1990 to 2000, joined the Firm in 1958. The Firm anticipated the spike in corporate public offerings and expanded its securities practice with Daniel McCauley, a former commissioner of the SEC.

  • The Firm’s culture set in early: render the most innovative and resourceful legal advice in an unpretentious and warm professional environment. Focus on legal remedy, but also on counsel and prevention. Care equally well for the individual lawyer and his family.

  • Hourly rates? No such thing. The Firm charged clients based on the Philadelphia Bar Association’s minimum fee schedule, which set prices for most legal tasks.

  • Sam Blank joined the board of Broad Street Bank, soon to be known as Continental Bank (and then Midlantic Bank and PNC), in 1954.

  • Alfred Luongo was appointed judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 1961.

  • An annual summer dinner dance for all personnel and their spouses began, along with a tradition of celebrating a select partner for achievements over the past year. The event was held at the houses of partners until the Firm grew too large.

  • The Firm leapt forward with the most modern conveniences in the legal profession: electric typewriters and an interoffice telephone system were installed at Suburban Station. At Four Penn Plaza, automated systems replaced manual bookkeeping and time recording.

  • Henry Morgan taught himself securities law by night to advise the Firm’s first IPO. The client, Electronic Tube, offered its first public shares in 1961, raising $300,000.

1966-1976

1966-1976
100
ATTORNEYS
icon-people
4
EXPANSIONS
stack
1
LOCATION
icon-location
Edwin Rome and Marvin Comisky

Blank, Rome, Klaus & Comisky adopted a formal management structure, appointing Edwin Rome its first chairman and Marvin Comisky its first managing partner, and formed its first executive committee. The Firm marked the passage of time as its founders departed and new leaders joined: William Rudenko passed in 1966; Samuel Blank retired in 1971; and Fred Blume joined in 1967.

  • In 1974, Joseph L. McGlynn was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

  • Ed Rome served as counsel for Aaron “Treetop” Turner, a pro bono client on Pennsylvania’s Death Row. Mr. Turner was exonerated and freed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

  • The monthly luncheon buffet began, offering attorneys and their clients a friendly, informal change of pace.

  • Considered cutting edge at the time, the Firm established a word processing center, equipped with automatic typewriters that stored typed material on magnetic media. The paralegal emerged as a profession. Many of Blank Rome’s first paralegals went to law school and returned to practice at the Firm.

  • The Penn Central Railroad Trustees appointed the Firm as special counsel to its reorganization, permanently altering the stature and reputation of Blank Rome as a significant national firm.

  • Marvin Comisky replaced Sam Blank on the Continental Bank Board of Directors. The banking practice expanded.

1976-1986

1976-1986
200
ATTORNEYS
icon-people
5
APPOINTED JUDGES
gavel
1
LOCATION
icon-location
A summer dinner dance for all attorneys and spouses remains an annual tradition.

Blank Rome Comisky & McCauley added specialists in asbestos litigation, municipal finance, healthcare, and environmental law, anticipating client demand in emerging fields. Before most “big law” firms, the Firm expanded its white collar practice and added a matrimonial practice. A merger with Philadelphia-based Wexler Weisman Forman & Shapiro in 1984 brought in Leon Forman, the foremost bankruptcy lawyer in the United States, and Ray Shapiro, another nationally regarded bankruptcy figure.

  • Zenola Harper was named president-elect of the National Bar Association Women Lawyers Division. In 1979, Nathaniel R. Jones was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

  • The Firm outsourced payroll, billing, and collection to outside vendors for the first time.

  • In 1986, Fred Lipman represented Continental Bancorp in its merger with Midlantic Bank. Jack Bershad helped Vernon Hill expand his small New Jersey bank – Commerce Bank – into Pennsylvania.

1986-1996

1986-1996
233
ATTORNEYS
icon-people
63
OFFICES HELD
deskperson
6
LOCATIONS
icon-location
Blank Rome advised the first airline industry LBO.
Jack Bershad, Marvin Comisky, and David Girard-diCarlo.

By 1996, Blank Rome Comisky & McCauley had grown from 14 to more than 230 attorneys serving clients in 42 states. It is the only law firm formed after WWII that is ranked among Philadelphia’s largest and fastest growing. A new managing partner was elected, David Girard-diCarlo, and Jack Bershad was elected chairman. The Firm developed capabilities to meet anticipated demand from the aviation and transportation industries and opened additional offices in the Greater Philadelphia region.

  • Stephen Orlofsky was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in 1995. Diane J. Sigmund left the Firm to serve as a judge in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Court.

  • The Firm embraced a greater number of women and minority attorneys as more entered the legal profession.

  • The Firm created a technology committee to stay abreast of immense change. A technology training program converted the entire staff to Windows 95.

  • Blank Rome began to represent Sun Oil spinoff SunGard, a tech firm with $40 million in sales, in 1983. At $4 billion in sales, SunGard remains a client today.

1996-2006

1996-2006
477
ATTORNEYS
icon-people
4
COMBINATIONS
squares
8
LOCATIONS
icon-location
The Firm moves into new offices in Philadelphia and expands into New York and Washington, D.C.
Herbert Tenzer of Tenzer Greenblatt in New York; Blank Rome moves to One Logan Square in Philadelphia.
Fred Blume and Carl Buchholz.

From new offices at One Logan Square, the Firm began its strategic expansion beyond Philadelphia. In New York, a transformative merger with Tenzer Greenblatt in 2000 gave the Firm the strategic presence it needed in the world’s financial capital and brought in a top-flight matrimonial practice. The combinations with Wigman, Cohen, Leitner & Myers in 1998 and Dyer Ellis & Joseph in 2003 established Blank Rome in Washington, D.C., and added intellectual property, maritime, and other leading attorneys in their fields of practice. In 2003, Blank Rome also established Blank Rome Government Relations LLC in Washington, D.C.

A second New York merger, with Healy & Baillie in 2006, expanded the Firm’s market-leading maritime practice, and strengthened many others, including real estate and corporate. With solid offices in Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, Blank Rome was poised to expand across the country. An office in Cincinnati was added in 2000, focusing on litigation, appeals, and alternative dispute resolution.

  • Fred Blume served as co-chair of the Firm from 2000 to 2002 and managing partner from 2003 to 2006. Carl Buchholz rejoined Blank Rome in 2002 after serving as special assistant to the President and executive secretary at the White House Office of Homeland Security. He was named managing partner of the Firm in 2006.

  • In 2002, Nathaniel R. Jones, former judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and former general counsel to the NAACP, joined the Firm, later becoming the first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Congress passed H.J. Res. 2 in 2003, naming the Nathaniel R. Jones Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Youngstown, Ohio, in recognition of his outstanding career as a jurist and civil rights leader.

  • On August 20, 2001, the Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse was renamed to honor Edward N. Cahn, a former judge in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and of counsel at Blank Rome since 1998.

  • Blank Rome Comisky & McCauley LLP streamlined its name to Blank Rome LLP in January 2003, coincident with a new practice management structure of three departments and 19 practice groups.



2006-2013

2006-2013
476
ATTORNEYS
icon-people
6
NEW OFFICES
deskperson
11
LOCATIONS
icon-location
Century City, Los Angeles
The Houston office is home to maritime, IP and litigation attorneys.
Alan Hoffman and Mike Dyer.

Under the leadership of chairman and managing partner Alan Hoffman and Mike Dyer, co-chair until 2013, Blank Rome LLP continued its strategic expansion in new and existing markets with important combinations and greenfield investments:

  • Blank Rome had served clients in Florida for more than 30 years. By this period, the Firm had offices in Boca Raton and Tampa and was poised to open a Fort Lauderdale office in 2014. Lawyers in these offices focus today on civil litigation, particularly in consumer finance and other regulatory matters.

  • Responding to the needs of West Coast clients, Blank Rome opened its office in Los Angeles in February 2009.

  • In 2011, the Firm entered Houston by combining with the leading litigation firm of Abrams, Scott & Bickley, and added the energy and maritime capabilities of Bell Ryniker & Letourneau to that office in 2013.

  • In May 2011, Blank Rome opened its Shanghai office. The decision to expand internationally was driven by the needs of clients with business operations around the world, particularly China-based clients with growing consumer and industrial enthusiasm for foreign products and technology. Today, many attorneys in our Asia practice group are fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, and Shanghainese, and have extensive knowledge of the cultural and legal systems that affect business and investment in Asia, with a particular focus on the Chinese market.

  • The Firm deepened its white collar criminal defense and antitrust teams in Washington, D.C., with Janis, Schulke & Wechsler in 2012.

By 2013, four Blank Rome partners had served as chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association: Marvin Comisky, Paul Dewey, Larry Beaser, and Scott Cooper.

2013-2016

2013-2016
620
ATTORNEYS
icon-people
69
RANK BY ATTORNEYS
cup
14
LOCATIONS
icon-location
In 2016, Blank Rome welcomed more than 100 lawyers from Dickstein Shapiro in D.C. and NY.
A team of litigators anchors the Pittsburgh office, opened in 2015.
Committed to our communities.

By 2016, Blank Rome had transformed itself from an East Coast firm to a national firm with an international footprint. Blank Rome accelerated this expansion within the prior three years through a series of tactical acquisitions, combinations, and lateral recruiting that added critical new capabilities and strategic locations to better serve its growing institutional client base. The Firm combined with Finestone & Richter and Margolis & Tisman in Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2014, and Wong, Cabello, Lutsch, Rutherford & Brucculeri in Houston in 2015. In February 2016, Blank Rome welcomed more than 100 lawyers from Dickstein Shapiro in Washington, D.C. and New York, adding government contracts and insurance coverage practices. In July 2016, the Firm expanded its national Matrimonial and Family Law group to Los Angeles with the addition of lawyers from Phillips Lerner.

  • PNC Bank, successor to Broad Street Bank, Continental Bancorp, and Midlantic Bank, continues to be among the Firm’s biggest clients

  • Blank Rome opened its Pittsburgh office in early 2015 to meet current and growing demand from its clients with significant interests in western Pennsylvania.

  • With the additions of IP boutique Wong Cabello and the Dickstein Shapiro attorneys, Blank Rome’s intellectual property practice joined the top 10 in the United States by headcount.

  • Blank Rome formalized its pro bono program, appointing a director and steering committee. Mandatory pro bono was enacted in 2015, and lawyer hours devoted to pro bono clients jumped 41% to more than 25,000 hours that year.

  • Blank Rome was the first law firm to issue Microsoft Surface Pro 3s to every attorney and professional staff member, enabling the mobility, security, and flexibility needed in the modern legal workplace.

  • Among other factors, associates pointed to the Surface Pros when voting Blank Rome into the top 10 of all firms in American Lawyer’s 2015 associate survey. As American Lawyer stated, Blank Rome associates are “happier than ever.”

  • The Attorney Resource Center was created in 2014, centralizing and streamlining legal assistance to associates.

  • Working Mother Magazine and Flex Time Lawyers named Blank Rome one of the 2015 “Best Law Firms for Women,” recognizing its family-friendly policies and career and business development initiatives that help to advance women attorneys into leadership positions.

  • Blank Rome joined the OnRamp Fellowship, an innovative program that provides women re-entering the legal profession with opportunities to update their skills and legal contacts through one-year, paid positions with top law firms.

  • The Human Rights Campaign Foundation released its 2016 Corporate Equality Index and conferred on Blank Rome a perfect score, designating the Firm as a “Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality.”

0-0
0
0
icon-people
0
0
dollar
stack gavel squares cup deskperson
0
0
icon-location
PHILADELPHIA
WEST PALM BEACH
CHERRY HILL
DELAWARE COUNTY
WILMINGTON
ALLENTOWN
NEW YORK
WASHINGTON DC
PRINCETON
CINCINNATI
HOUSTON
LOS ANGELES
TAMPA
FORT LAUDERDALE
BOCA RATON
PITTSBURGH
SAN FRANCISCO
map-usa
VIEW U.S. LOCATIONS
VIEW U.S. LOCATIONS
SHANGHAI
map-world