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Meet Blank Rome’s 2019 Philadelphia Inquirer Influencers of Law

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Blank Rome Of Counsel Judge James T. Giles and Partners Sophia Lee and Anthony B. Haller were selected as The Philadelphia Inquirer’s 2019 Influencers of Law award recipients, a recognition that honors Philadelphia’s leading lawyers who have “shaped, changed, and transformed the legal industry.” Below are their full profiles in each of their winning categories, as published in the March 24, 2019, edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

James T. Giles Headshot

James T. Giles – Lifetime Achievement Award

Professional Accomplishments/Career Highlights:

Appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, James T. Giles was a federal district judge in Philadelphia for 29 years, seven years as Chief Judge. His trial docket included high-profile criminal and civil cases and those in which civil litigants could not afford counsel. He now draws upon his trial and case management experience in alternative dispute resolution and assisting clients in case strategy and preparation. 

Community Involvement: 

Judge Giles is a member of the American Arbitration Association Board of Directors and on its Roster of Commercial Arbitration Neutrals. He also serves on the Center for Literacy's Board of Directors and Executive Committee, is Secretary of the Board of Port Wardens of the Independence Seaport Museum, Vice President of the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia and a member of the Advisory Committee of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP). 

Who Would You Replace on the $100 Bill and Why?

"Former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. He brought about, through extraordinary leadership and courage, the unanimous, redemptive decision of Brown v. Board of Education, which pulled this nation from the quicksand grip of Jim Crow laws and onto a true path to fulfill the constitutional promise of equality of citizenship and equal justice under law for all." 

Sophia Lee Headshot

Sophia Lee – Business Litigation Award

Professional Accomplishments/Career Highlights:

As a Partner and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Blank Rome, Sophia Lee is a trusted adviser to her clients, helping them meet their business objectives through the legal process. She handles commercial, environmental, products liability, and toxic tort matters for energy, chemical, and other industrial clients. She also advises clients on regulatory concerns, as well as on matters on constitutional significance. 

Community Involvement: 

Sophia serves on the boards of the Asian Arts Initiative, Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, the Philadelphia Education Fund, and the Women's Law Project. She is an active member of the Forum of Executive Women, a board member and past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania, a past co-president of the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group, a past diversity chair for the Philadelphia Bar Association, and a past vice-chair for the Mayor's Commission on Asian American Affairs. 

What Advice Would You Give to Your 18-Year-Old Self? 

"The path forward is not always what you imagine, so be willing to take risks and seize opportunities when they present themselves. Staying focused and being comfortable with the uncomfortable will serve you well." 

Anthony Haller Headshot

Anthony B. Haller – Employment Litigation Award

Professional Accomplishments/Career Highlights:

Anthony Haller serves on Blank Rome's Executive Committee and is immediate past Chair of the Firm's Labor and Employment Practice. Nationally and internationally recognized as a leading employment law litigator, he was elected to the College of Labor and Employment Law, and Finance Monthly named him its 2018 Trade Secrets Lawyer of the Year for the United States.

Community Involvement: 

Anthony serves on the national Executive Committee and Board of Trustees of the American Inns of Court Foundation, which promotes civility, ethics and excellence in the profession. He sits on the Temple American Inn of Court Executive Committee. A member of the Pennsylvania Ballet's Board of Trustees, he serves as a Vice President on the Board's Executive Committee, and has worked with and supported the Ballet for over 35 years. Anthony is a member of the Executive Committee of the Thouron Fellowship, which provides scholarships to select UK students to study at Penn and top Penn students to study in the UK. 

What's the Last Book You Read?

The Spy and The Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by Ben Macintyre. 

2019 Influencers of Law
L to R: Sophia Lee, joined by her daughters, Judge Giles, and Anthony Haller at the 2019 Influencers of Law Awards Luncheon.