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The Legal Intelligencer's 2017 Distinguished Leaders

Blank Rome Chairman and Managing Partner Alan J. Hoffman and Partner Lawrence J. Beaser were recognized as 2017 Distinguished Leaders by The Legal Intelligencer, an award that honors Pennsylvania attorneys who have achieved impressive results in the past year and demonstrated clear, valuable leadership skills that helped them achieve those results.

The 2017 list recognizes 24 notable attorneys, including Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Beaser, who were selected via the input of outside sources and The Legal Intelligencer’s editorial staff.

The awards were announced in April 2017, and published in the June 12, 2017, edition of The Legal Intelligencer. The awards dinner will be held at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia on June 22.


From the 2017 Distinguished Leaders supplement by The Legal Intelligencer:

ALAN J. HOFFMAN

As the chairman and managing partner of Blank Rome, Hoffman helped lead the firm through a period of rapid expansion in 2016, including its merger with Dickstein Shapiro, which brought aboard 107 attorneys.
 

 

 

What career path would you have pursued if you weren't a lawyer?

I was an accounting major in college, so I would have likely pursued a career in accounting or finance.

Name a mentor or someone you admire.

Professor Collins, a very wise law school professor of mine. When I was a first-year law student at Villanova, mid-term grades didn't count, so I didn't exactly apply myself on the contracts mid-term. Not surprisingly, I got a low score and he called me into his office. Professor Collins was very brief and said only, "Here's what's going to happen at the final: I will give you six questions to answer. I will then spend five minutes reading each of your answers. You will have a total of only 30 minutes to impress me with what you learned this entire year. Your job is to distinguish yourself from the masses." I took his words to heart, dove into my studies, and ended up finishing eighth out of my class of 200 following the final exam. I have never forgotten those five wise words of Professor Collins: distinguish yourself from the masses.

What is the best advice you ever received?

Prepare, prepare, prepare. There will always be somebody smarter than you, but as long as you are the one who is the best prepared for a situation, you will ultimately have the advantage. At the beginning of my career when I was in the U.S. Attorney's office trying cases, Chief Judge Latchum of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware took me into his chambers following a hearing to provide counsel. He told me to anticipate every issue in a case and prepare a memorandum addressing those issues to be handed to the trial judge. I have followed his wise advice—both in the courtroom and out—ever since. While the concept is simple, it has helped guide me through complex situations that I've encountered as a lawyer and a leader.

In 50 words or less, what does the legal profession need to do to prepare the next generation of lawyers?

Building and nurturing relationships is critical to being a successful lawyer. In a time when everything is instantaneous, and we frequently interact over text message, social media or email, we must instill the value of client service, face-to-face networking, and strong communications skills to prepare the next generation of lawyers.

What's the one piece of advice would you give someone when dealing with a crisis?

Slow down, collect all of the information that is available to you, and speak with a number of advisers (both internal and external) who represent different "voices" before reacting. As a leader, you must build consensus in your organization and keep the lines of communication open during trying times. With the trust of your organization behind you, a difficult situation can be handled swiftly and efficiently.

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Beaser counsels individuals and entities in the fields of nonprofit and for-profit business law, health and health insurance law and government law. Each year, he provides over 130 hours of pro bono service. Throughout his career, Beaser has handled many different types of pro bono matters, including representing juveniles in criminal court through the Juvenile Justice Program and working with a variety of nonprofits seeking to improve the community, including The Philadelphia Foundation, Philadelphia VIP, the Philadelphia Bar Association, and countless other organizations.
 

What career path would you have pursued if you weren't a lawyer?

This is not a relevant question for me. I was fortunate to have a father who was a government lawyer and who worked to make our society better. I always assumed that I would follow in his footsteps, and have been fortunate to be able to do so.

Name a mentor or someone you admire.

I have been very fortunate in having a significant number of mentors who helped me in my career. I will mention three: I clerked for Judge J. Sydney Hoffman of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. He was a role model as a judge and teacher. I served as general counsel to Pennsylvania Governor Milton J. Shapp. Governor Shapp was an important mentor and role model. Finally, I want to mention my former partner, Dennis Replansky, who died much too young. Dennis mentored me as I was learning to be a business lawyer and I often think of all that he taught me.

What is the best advice you ever received?

From my mother, that I should marry Shelly.

In 50 words or less, what does the legal profession need to do to prepare the next generation of lawyers?

Start by encouraging this generation of lawyers to be good mentors and teachers. Encourage new lawyers to focus on improving their person-to-person relationships. And, actively work to transmit the ethical precepts that make an attorney a true professional.

What's the one piece of advice would you give someone when dealing with a crisis?

In a crisis, take a deep breath, think through your options, and plan before reacting. Don't panic. Think of what the problem is right now and what immediate steps must be taken to deal with it. Anticipate and plan for future repercussions, but worrying about them is a distraction from the critical, imminent actions that you need to take.