Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms, 2018 Edition.pdf

Historical footprint founder john christian bullitt

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Historical Footprint Founder John Christian Bullitt arrived in Philadelphia on Inauguration Day of 1849 and opened the firm as Bullitt and Fairthorne, and although the moniker has changed, over the decades, the firm has been involved with numerous iconic and household names. Drinker has a long history with the University of Pennsylvania. In 1881, partner Samuel Dickson became a member of the University’s board of trustees, a position he held until his death in 1915. He also served as counsel to the University, a role the firm held onto for several years after his death and then regained again in 1927 when Henry Drinker became the school’s attorney. In 1871, the firm presided over the creation of Drexel, Morgan and Co.—an investment bank that would later become JP Morgan. Drinker also assisted Georg von Trapp (of the legendary von Trapp Family) in 1939 in sorting out visa issues at Ellis Island and with other legal matters during World War II. Also during World War II, the firm was called upon to negotiate a compromise on a tax lien and reorganize a shipping yard that would prove critical to the American war effort. In the post-war era, Henry Sawyer III, a veteran of the war who had helped develop the Marshall Plan, represented several clients called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. The firm stood by the American Civil Liberties Union in defending those accused of having communist sympathies in spite of the firm’s strongly conservative leadership. The firm’s contemporary practice is aimed at providing elite services on a national, and, increasingly, international scale. While the firm expands its horizons, it still stays true to its roots. Leaders in Associate Training In 2009, while some firms postponed associate start dates or rescinded offers, Drinker Biddle created a groundbreaking training program, now in its ninth year. For the first three months of their employment, incoming associates have no billable obligation—their only “job” is to learn. An interactive curriculum that addresses practical skills and practice-specific experience is followed by apprenticeship opportunities with experienced colleagues on client matters. Pro Bono Focus Pro bono work is a strong facet of the firm culture at Drinker Biddle. Pro bono hours are credited the same as billable hours up to 6 percent of the lawyer’s actual billable hours for purposes of bonuses and other compensation, with exceptions liberally granted. In practice, nearly all pro bono time is approved. Associates can get involved in existing programs, as well as bring their own matters of interest to the firm. There is partner supervision on all matters and approved pro bono time is equally as valuable as billable work when considering bonuses and advancement. The firm encourages its lawyers to fight for the causes that interest them and appeal to their sense of justice. It does not screen cases on ideological grounds and works for a variety of causes, such as individuals who
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  • Fall '16
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