Blank Rome Announces 2019 Leadership Transition
Blank Rome’s Grant Palmer to Become Managing Partner in 2019; Alan Hoffman to Continue as Chairman
Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce its leadership transition plan that will go into effect January 1, 2019, and will result in current Litigation Department Chair Grant S. Palmer becoming Managing Partner, and current Chairman and Managing Partner Alan J. Hoffman continuing his term as Chairman. Hoffman joined Blank Rome in 1992 and rose from Litigation Department Head (1996–2008), to Firm Co-Chair (2008–2013), to Managing Partner (2011), to Chairman and Managing Partner (2014–present). Over the past 10 years, Hoffman has transformed Blank Rome, creating a thriving national footprint for what had been a regional firm for six decades.
“Throughout 2017, our leadership team and partners developed a strategic succession plan that upholds our commitment to serving our clients, colleagues, and communities in innovative ways. We are thrilled that as a result of this process, Grant Palmer will become our next Managing Partner,” said Hoffman. “Grant and I have worked closely together for more than 25 years. In addition to being a top-notch litigator, he is a trusted and respected leader. He has served the Firm in numerous leadership roles—making a significant impact as Litigation Department Chair, overseeing more than 300 attorneys across 13 offices—as well as Chair of our award-winning pro bono program. Grant has been committed to our Firm, clients, and communities for decades, and we’re confident that under his leadership, Blank Rome will continue to achieve great things. I’m looking forward to partnering with Grant to lead Blank Rome, and we congratulate him on his new and well-deserved role.”
Palmer graduated from Bucknell University in 1986 and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 1989. He began his career as a federal law clerk to the Honorable Robert S. Gawthrop in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and joined Blank Rome in 1990. He is a nationally recognized trial lawyer, representing clients in a wide range of areas. Palmer has served in a number of leadership roles at Blank Rome, including the Executive Committee, Partner Board, Lateral Recruiting Committee, and previously as Commercial Litigation Practice Group Leader. He founded and has chaired the Firm’s Pro Bono Committee since 2003, and implemented mandatory pro bono requirements in 2014, which resulted in record-breaking participation and hours. He commits significant time to numerous professional and community organizations.
“For the past 28 years, I have been fortunate to call Blank Rome my home, and I am so honored and grateful to have the opportunity to serve as our Firm’s next Managing Partner,” said Palmer. “I have loved being a trial lawyer and working with our clients to help them solve complex issues for nearly three decades. While I will never give up practicing law, I’m excited to refocus my efforts on supporting my new clients: my Blank Rome colleagues. Our attorneys and professionals are some of the very best in the industry. Since Blank Rome was founded in 1946, we have had five managing partners, and they have all been incredibly inspiring and successful—from Marvin Comisky to Alan Hoffman and everyone in between. I look forward to continuing to build upon the tremendous success that we have achieved under all of our previous managing partners’ leadership, with a strong focus on further developing and promoting our commitment to client service, diversity and inclusion, strategic growth, pro bono service, and our Firm’s strong culture of collaboration and teamwork.”
Blank Rome’s Success under Hoffman’s Leadership
When Hoffman became Co-Chair in 2008, the legal industry was reeling from the recession. Rather than retreat, he grew the Firm’s client base and geographic reach, made strategic decisions to remain on solid financial footing, and prudently managed expenses, setting the stage for 10 years of steady progress.
- From 2008–2017, revenue increased 39%, RPL increased 28%, profits increased 56%, and profits per partner increased 59%.
- Since 2008, the Firm has grown from a regional to a national firm, expanding from 8 to 13 offices. Highlights include:
- 2009: Opened L.A. office to serve West Coast clients (have grown from 5 to 50 attorneys)
- 2011: Opened Houston office, combined with Abrams Scott & Bickley, expanded employment, products liability, and litigation (have grown from 5 to more than 40 attorneys); opened Shanghai office; welcomed Consumer Finance Litigation team
- 2012: Added white-collar lawyers from Janis, Schuelke & Wechsler in D.C.; opened Tampa, FL office, then Ft. Lauderdale in 2014
- 2013: Welcomed lawyers from Bell, Ryniker & Letourneau in Houston, expanding energy and maritime practices
- 2014: Expanded L.A. and NY offices, opened San Francisco office with additions from Finestone & Richter and Margolis & Tisman, enhancing M&A, litigation, labor and employment, banking, real estate, and trusts and estates capabilities
- 2015: Opened Pittsburgh office with litigation team; added lawyers/staff from Wong Cabello in Houston, bolstering IP practice
- 2016: Spearheaded Blank Rome’s largest transaction in its 70-year history, welcoming more than 100 attorneys from Dickstein Shapiro in D.C. and NY, and expanding the Firm’s IP, government contracts, insurance recovery, corporate and finance, real estate, and litigation capabilities; added lawyers from Phillips Lerner in L.A., establishing a West Coast presence for matrimonial practice
- 2017: Expanded leading Insurance Recovery group to the West Coast with addition of prominent team led by Linda Kornfeld in Los Angeles
- 2016: Blank Rome achieved the largest change in revenue among Am Law 100 Philadelphia-based firms and the second largest change in revenue nationally. The same year, the Firm was included in the Global 100 for the first time and achieved the highest growth in revenue among the entire Global 100.
- 2017: Blank Rome named a 2017 “Pennsylvania Powerhouse” by Law360.
Commitment to the Firm’s Culture
- Continuing the Firm’s tradition of pro bono service, Hoffman and Palmer instituted mandatory pro bono in 2014, requiring every attorney to perform at least 25 hours of pro bono annually. The results were remarkable, including overall participation and hours increasing by 100%.
- Seeing an opportunity to train and mentor our next generation of leaders, Hoffman created a vice-chair leadership position for practice groups. These positions provide a unique opportunity for younger and diverse leaders to be more involved in Firm management. Since adding this level, the Firm has benefitted from leadership ranks expanding in size and, as a result, becoming more diverse. Today, half of the Firm’s practice group leaders are women and minorities.
- Blank Rome’s founders envisioned a Firm where people of diverse backgrounds could practice law together. Committed to this guiding vision, Hoffman and Chris Lewis, our Chief Officer of Diversity and Inclusion (who Hoffman appointed to our Executive Committee), lead the Firm’s Diversity Committee and Affinity Groups in developing and implementing events; recruiting, retention, mentoring, and career development programs; and community outreach initiatives to foster diversity and inclusion. As a result, the Firm has been named a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign and a “Best Law Firm for Women” by Working Mother magazine for the past several years.
In acknowledgement of his achievements, Hoffman has received numerous recognitions throughout his career, including most recently:
- 2018 “Judge Learned Hand Award” – American Jewish Committee Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey
- 2017 “Distinguished Leader” – The Legal Intelligencer
- 2016 “Most Admired CEO” – Philadelphia Business Journal
- 2015 “Power 76” recipient – Philadelphia Business Journal