1940s

4 attorneys 1 office

1946

Samuel Blank and William Rudenko form Blank & Rudenko.

Samuel Blank and William Rudenko

History BReaks

Blank Rome was formed in 1946 by attorneys who, because of their religion, were barred from joining many established law firms. Our founders’ vision for our Firm was of a place where people of diverse backgrounds could gather to practice law.

While the Firm focused closely on corporate, labor, and real estate law, we were 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.

1950s

20 attorneys 1 office

1957

Edwin 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.

1958

The Firm anticipated the spike in corporate public offerings and expanded its securities practice with Daniel McCauley, a former commissioner of the SEC.

1959

Merged with Brumbelow & Comisky in Philadelphia

Marvin Comisky & Edwin Rome

1960s

52 attorneys 1 office

1961

Merged with Newman & Master in Philadelphia.

1969

Blank, Rome, Klaus & Comisky adopted a formal management structure, appointing Edwin Rome its first Chairman and Marvin Comisky its first Managing Partner.

Philip Newman, Edwin Rome & Marvin Comisky

History BReaks

Blank Rome’s starting salary for attorneys was $6,500.

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.

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

The Firm leapt forward with the most modern conveniences in the legal profession: electric typewriters and an interoffice telephone system.

1970s

108 attorneys 2 offices

1970

Blank Rome Comisky & McCauley added specialists in asbestos litigation, municipal finance, healthcare, and environmental law.

Before most “big law” firms, the Firm expanded its white collar practice and added a matrimonial practice.

1980s

213 attorneys 4 offices

1983

Began to represent Sun Oil spinoff SunGard. SunGard remains a client today.

1984

Merged with Wexler Weisman Forman & Shapiro in 1984, significantly expanding the Firm’s bankruptcy practice.

1988

David Girard-diCarlo was elected Managing Partner.

Raymond Shapiro, Marvin Comisky & Leon Forman

History BReaks

Developed capabilities to meet anticipated demand from the aviation and maritime industries and opened additional offices in the Greater Philadelphia region.

1990s

285 attorneys 9 offices

1990

Jack Bershad was elected Chairman and Marvin Comisky became Chairman Emeritus.

1996

Blank Rome Comisky & McCauley had grown to 230 attorneys serving clients in 42 states.

1998

Combined with Wigman, Cohen, Leitner & Myers, enhancing the Firm’s foothold in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

History BReaks

From new offices at One Logan Square, the Firm began its strategic expansion beyond Philadelphia.

Philadelphia, New York & Washington D.C. offices

2000s

498 attorneys 9 offices

Mergers & Geographic expansion

Leadership

2000

A transformative merger with Tenzer Greenblatt gave the Firm the strategic presence it needed in New York and brought in corporate, M&A, real estate, and matrimonial capabilities.

Added an office in Cincinnati, 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.

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.

Enhanced the Firm’s pro bono program with the addition of Kathy Ochroch as the Firm’s first Director of Pro Bono Services and required each lawyer to devote 25 hours to pro bono service on an annual basis.

2003

Combined with Dyer Ellis & Joseph, adding intellectual property and maritime leaders and capabilities in Washington, D.C.. Established Blank Rome Government Relations LLC in Washington, D.C

As the Firm grew, our efforts to work collaboratively and in teams to better serve our clients’ needs was formalized with the formation of a practice group structure.

After serving as special assistant to the President and executive secretary at the White House Office of Homeland Security, Carl Buchholz rejoined the Firm and was named Executive Partner. In 2006 he was named Managing Partner of the Firm, succeeding Fred Blume.

2005

Combined with Shack Siegel Katz & Flaherty in New York.

2006

Combined with Healy & Baillie, expanding the Firm’s international Maritime and Commercial practices.

Opened Hong Kong office in October 2006.

2008

Alan Hoffman and T. Michael Dyer elected Co-Chairs of the Firm.

The Firm hosted its first Women’s Forum Retreat and Diversity Retreat, bringing together attorneys from across the Firm.

2009

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

History BReaks

In 2003 Blank Rome Comisky & McCauley LLP streamlined its name to Blank Rome LLP.

2010s

620 attorneys 14 offices

Mergers & Geographic expansion

Leadership

2011

Opened Houston office and combined with Houston-based Abrams Scott & Bickley LLP.

Opened Shanghai office to address client needs with business operations around the world, particularly China-based clients with growing consumer and industrial enthusiasm for foreign products and technology.

Started Trial Academy program to provide attorneys with an opportunity to gain trial experience and develop critical trial advocacy skills through a mix of courses, on-their-feet practice, and coaching.

Alan Hoffman elected Managing Partner and Chair.

2012

Added attorneys from Janis, Schuelke & Wechsler Law Firm in Washington, D.C.

2013

Added the energy and maritime capabilities of Bell Ryniker & Letourneau in Houston.

2014

Expanded Los Angeles office and opened San Francisco office with additions from Finestone & Richter and Margolis & Tisman LLP. Opened Fort Lauderdale office.

Instituted mandatory pro bono service, requiring a minimum of 25 hours a year in September 2014.

Alan Hoffman re-elected Managing Partner and Chair.

2015

Combined with Wong, Cabello, Lutsch, Rutherford & Brucculeri in Houston, an IP boutique law firm with Fortune 100 clients. Opened Pittsburgh office with five lawyers.

Held the first annual Energy Industry Update during which counsel from the energy industry, industry experts, legislative advisers, and Blank Rome energy attorneys discussed critical issues and matters affecting the energy industry.

2016

Welcomed more than 100 lawyers from Dickstein Shapiro in Washington, D.C., and New York, adding Government Contracts and Insurance Recovery practices and also enhancing its real estate finance, corporate, M&A, and private equity capabilities. Expanded national Matrimonial and Family Law group to Los Angeles with the addition of lawyers from Phillips Lerner.

2017

Expanded Insurance Recovery team on the West Coast with additions from Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP.

2019

Moved New York offices from The Chrysler Building to 1271 Avenue of the Americas.

Opened Chicago office.

Grant Palmer named Managing Partner & CEO, Alan Hoffman was re-elected as Chair.

History BReaks

  • 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.
  • 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."
  • PNC Bank, successor to Broad Street Bank, Continental Bancorp, and Midlantic Bank, continues to be among the Firm’s biggest clients.
  • 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.
  • Achieved Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Certification, having affirmatively considered at least 30 percent women and attorneys of color for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, and senior lateral positions, to boost the representation of diverse lawyers in law firm leadership.

2020s

600+ attorneys 14 offices

2020

Continued expansion in key markets and practices. Welcomed 14 laterals—both in person and virtually!

In response to COVID-19, the Firm assembled a cross-practice group of attorneys to support client needs.

Colleagues from all offices seamlessly move to working from home as a result of the global pandemic.

Hosted the Women’s Leadership Summit in a virtual format for the first time.

The Firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee launched “Open Conversations,” a discussion series focused on racial equality topics and issues.

Hosted the Annual Emerging Litigation and Employment Law Issues for In-House Counsel, now in its 16th year, in a virtual format with attendees from across the United States.

Joined the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance and created Pro Bono Working Groups to address the impact of racism on society.

Women's Leadership Summit