Trial

Sophisticated consumers of legal services require certain qualities of their litigators. They look for depth, specific experience, geographic representation and a well-defined approach to complex matters.

Duane Morris' trial lawyers have the level of industry-specific litigation experience necessary to successfully manage large-case litigation for clients ranging from individuals to Fortune 100 companies.

What Sets Us Apart


Our clients tell us that our strength is in our know-how. Our process is to listen with an experienced ear, understand a client's business needs and objectives, and then fully evaluate appropriate strategies and combination of tactics. We employ an interdisciplinary approach – drawing on the appropriate practice group and industry-specific professionals.

We take our role as counselors seriously. This commitment distinguishes our litigation practice, which features:

Industry Experience and Teams

From electric utilities to chemical, from hospitality to telecommunications, Duane Morris lawyers represent clients in many industries in state and federal trial and appellate courts in the United States and in courts throughout the United Kingdom and European Union. Our collective capabilities are both deep and wide. We assemble teams of lawyers with particularized technical practice backgrounds, as well as individual industry experience.

Extensive Courtroom and ADR Experience

We call ourselves the "trial department" because we actually try cases to verdict. Whenever possible, however, we make use of alternative dispute resolution techniques such as arbitration and mediation to pursue the client's goals.

We advise clients on how to proceed and how judges have handled similar issues previously. We utilize a structured witness preparation program to educate witnesses on giving testimony. We are able to discuss an opponent's strengths and weaknesses. Our industry familiarity allows us to give on-point advice for industry-specific needs.

Geographic Coverage

Our numerous offices allow us to staff each case with local talent who have had experience with the courts, the regulatory authorities and other lawyers in the jurisdiction. Each lawyer's longstanding presence in the local legal community is supported by the firm's lawyers in our offices across the United States and in London.

In London, we try cases, appeals and appearances in specialist divisions of the Construction & Technology and the Commercial Courts. Our London lawyers frequently are retained to monitor activities of regional law firms in the U.K. and elsewhere in the European Union.

Effective Resource Management

We are familiar with an industry's issues and can mobilize human and technological resources immediately. For example, we know how to process and analyze thousands of documents; our computer capabilities are regularly employed by Fortune 100 companies; and we have been a leader in alternative fee structures, including contingent fee and success premiums.

With the firm's advanced Information Services Department, we assist clients by structuring and managing evidence databases, calling upon cutting-edge software for case analysis and risk assessment, and preparing and using multimedia trial presentations, Extranets and other advanced litigation support tools.

Contingency Fee Practice

Our active contingency fee practice is unique among large law firms. We regularly represent clients otherwise unable to pursue large-case litigation.

Here are some of the specific industry areas we serve and litigation practices we maintain:

  • Antitrust and Competition
  • Appellate Practice
  • Arbitration, ADR and Mediation
  • Aviation Law
  • Class Action Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Construction
  • Corporate Litigation
  • Employment Litigation
  • Environmental Litigation
  • Financial Institution Litigation
  • Franchise Litigation
  • Healthcare Litigation
  • Hospitality Industry Litigation
  • Insurance Coverage Litigation
  • Insurance Litigation
  • Intellectual Property Litigation
  • International Arbitration
  • Probate Litigation
  • Products Liability and Toxic Torts
  • Professional Liability Litigation
  • Risk Management
  • Securities Litigation
  • Surety and Fidelity Litigation
  • White Collar Criminal Litigation

Representative Matters

  • Obtained on behalf of Capital One Bank, N. A., and its predecessor in interest, ING Bank, FSB, a dismissal of an appeal before the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Five, upholding a judgment for ING in a dispute that included issues related to the Home Owners Loan Act and the Dodd-Frank Act. The dismissal also left intact a second judgment in favor of ING from the Sonoma County Superior Court.
  • St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company v. Abhe & Svoboda, Inc., 12-cv-01482 (D. Minn. April 29, 2014) - Obtained from the U.S. District Court for Minnesota an order granting summary judgment to St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company rescinding the Policy of insurance in a dispute over a Marine Hull and Protection & Indemnity insurance.
  • Represented Wells Fargo Bank, N. A. and Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, LLC, in Contra Costa County Superior Court, in a multimillion lawsuit stemming from claims of retaliatory eviction and habitability following Wells Fargo's successful foreclosure on an apartment complex in Pittsburg, California. Successfully negotiated a favorable settlement that required financial contributions from neither client.
  • Obtained on behalf of U.S. Bancorp and U.S. Bank National Association, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, a dismissal with prejudice of a high exposure breach of contract, negligence and commercial code violation case.
  • Obtained a settlement on behalf of NEC Corporation and four of its Japanese and U.S. affiliates in MDL antitrust litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California concerning an alleged global price-fixing conspiracy in the LCD flat panel and finished products markets.
  • Won appeal for TD Bank in United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The appeal upheld a prior victory in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland dismissing plaintiffs' claims for fraud concerning mortgage foreclosure and garnishment against twenty-two financial institutions and executive defendants. The District Court dismissed plaintiffs' claims in the entirety for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and then denied motions for reconsideration and to reopen.
  • Obtained a dismissal with prejudice on behalf of Dell Financial Services LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dell Inc., of multimillion-dollar claims under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
  • Obtained an order granting summary judgment that Great American Insurance Company and Great American Insurance Company of New York had no duty to defend or indemnify an insured with respect to an underlying lawsuit involving pollution claims. The coverage action was filed in Federal District Court in San Francisco.
  • Obtained an appellate victory in favor of JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. in the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware regarding: Delaware's "two-dismissal" rule of Rule 41; when a motion to dismiss should be converted to a motion for summary judgment; and the trial court's discretion to strike an answer when a defendant fails to file an affidavit of merit as required by statute.
  • 7-Eleven, Inc. v. Upadhyaya, ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2013 WL 765661 (E.D. Pa. 2013) - Obtained permanent injunction requiring franchisee to surrender convenience store following a full bench trial during which it was established that franchisees had systematically defrauded the franchisor by concealing sales.
  • Represented the Pennsylvania Department of Treasury in defeating a putative class action brought by property owners, who were seeking as much as $54 million from the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office in excess proceeds from property auctions.
  • Obtained a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah precluding the "every breath" opinion under Daubert in Smith v. Ford Motor Co., et al., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7861 (D. Utah Jan. 18, 2013).
  • Obtained on behalf of the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) a settlement agreement the client found very favorable in a hotly-contested 15-year long class action lawsuit regarding home-heating subsidies in which plaintiffs originally sought tens of millions of dollars.
  • Defended The Hartford Insurance Company and its insured, Jorda Enterprises Inc., an HVAC subcontractor, in an equitable subrogation action which sought more than $3 million in damages relating to a pipe burst at a luxury condominium building located in Miami, Fla., which coincided with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Court entered summary judgment in favor of Jorda, finding that: there was no valid release from the Condominium Association which permitted the subrogation claim to be brought; the Association previously released Jorda in earlier construction litigation when the subrogation claim had not been perfected by payment; and, the subrogation claim was barred by res judicata. QBE Insurance Corporation v. Jorda Enterprises, Inc., No. 10-21107 CIV-GOLD (S.D. Fla. 2012).
  • Co-lead counsel for the Attorney General of Pennsylvania in his product liability lawsuit against the tobacco industry that recently culminated in an historic settlement for Pennsylvania in the amount of $11.2 billion.
  • Represented Honda dealers in their civil RICO and antitrust claims against American Honda Motor Co., its Japanese parent corporation, and other defendants.
  • In a landmark decision, successfully defended ElcomSoft, a Russian software company, facing up to five counts of criminal violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and $2.5 million in fines. The case was the first criminal trial under the DMCA which bans software tools that bypass encryption on digitally copyrighted works.
  • Lead counsel for Washington Mutual in massive antitrust case filed by American Express against Visa, MasterCard, and various banks with respect to network rules relating to issuance of credit cards; resolution that client found favorable.

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Peer Reviews

  • 4.9/5.0 (510)
  • Legal Knowledge

    4.9/5.0
  • Analytical Capability

    4.9/5.0
  • Judgment

    4.9/5.0
  • Communication

    4.9/5.0
  • Legal Experience

    4.9/5.0

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Client Reviews

  • 4.6/5.0 (56)
  • 91% (51)
  • Communication

    4.6/5.0
  • Responsiveness

    4.6/5.0
  • Quality of Service

    4.6/5.0
  • Value for Money

    4.6/5.0

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Diversity

"In my discussions with Duane Morris leaders, they frequently speak about how diversity within their firm has enabled them to better serve their diverse clients. They understand that investing in diversity is a wise business decision that positions them for the marketplace of the future."

Don Liu
Senior VP, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary
Xerox Corporation

At Duane Morris, achieving diversity is paradoxical. By supporting and celebrating the differences of our attorneys - and the individual strengths that they bring - our firm culture expands, fostering creative solutions for our clients. But diversity at Duane Morris does not mean that we have a certain number of diverse attorneys; true diversity means that it is no longer noteworthy to see diverse lawyers leading our practice groups or managing client relationships. Ascending to positions of leadership and greater responsibility and providing the highest levels of client service is simply what is expected of all our lawyers. Diversity is another strong asset that adds to our collective abilities to meet the needs of our clients.

Our vision of diversity at Duane Morris is to realize an environment in which our lawyers' outstanding qualities are not just measured by ethnicity, race, gender and sexual orientation, but more importantly, that our lawyers are remarkable as excellent attorneys above all else. Only then can we celebrate our differences while focusing on the common pursuit of legal excellence which everyone shares at Duane Morris.

To reach this goal, Duane Morris understands that the familiar diversity strategies and policies that most law firms have are needed. Without demanding results from such policies, most law firms are bound to fail in even achieving numerical hiring and retention goals. Duane Morris has been proactive and ambitious in its efforts to improve diversity at the firm, and has set deadlines for reaching the milestones which mark our progress. To create a more diverse law firm, Duane Morris is:

  • Committed to strategically increasing our diversity levels, which is currently at 10 percent.
  • Bringing together our Diversity Committee and our Hiring and Retention Committee to raise diversity as an important factor in our hiring decisions.
  • Dedicated to improving retention by building upon our monitoring and mentoring program for all diverse associates.

Combining new initiatives with our longstanding diversity efforts, Duane Morris has seen increasingly positive results. In the Minority Law Journal's annual diversity survey of the nation's largest 260 firms, Duane Morris continued to improve its regional and national ranking, rising to number 136 of all firms surveyed. Our strides in Philadelphia are encouraging; in a city known for both the racial diversity of its population and the lack thereof in its law firms, Duane Morris is one of only two law firms to exceed the national average of minority partners at all law firms. Additionally, Duane Morris leads all national law firms based in Philadelphia in the number of Latino partners. Nearly 30 percent of all of our attorneys are women, and more than 20 percent of our partners are women.

In our approach to diversity, progress in racial, gender and cultural diversity cannot be measured in numbers alone. Duane Morris has focused our diversity initiatives on both increasing the number of diverse associates and addressing the challenges diverse attorneys face in building lasting careers and rising to senior and leadership positions. While several of our key practice groups are led by diverse partners and female partners, Duane Morris endeavors to create a culture which will foster a deep pool of such attorneys who can then develop into the firm's future leaders. Duane Morris understands that simply hiring diverse associates will not change the diversity of the firm; Duane Morris is working to mentor and retain diverse associates so that our progress in racial, gender and cultural diversity is also reflected at the highest levels of leadership within the firm.

Our progress on gender diversity has been profound. We have no glass ceilings: women hold positions of leadership at all levels of management at the firm. Women lead a number of our key practice groups, including our Energy, Immigration and International practices, and serve on the firm's Executive Committee. The success of our female attorneys at Duane Morris has not gone unnoticed. Barbara Adams was chair of the firm's Finance Practice until her appointment by Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell to serve as General Counsel of the Commonwealth. In 2004, our longtime General Counsel, Gene E.K. Pratter, was approved by the United States Senate and is now a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Our efforts to improve diversity extend beyond our firm's walls. The chair of our Diversity Committee, Nolan N. Atkinson, Jr., recognized the lack of diversity in Philadelphia's legal community and formed the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group. Nolan now serves as the chair of the organization, a consortium of 25 law firms and corporations that commits to employing at least one diverse first-year law student each as a summer associate. From this program, law students of diverse backgrounds gain access to what was once an exclusive legal community, and now have the opportunity to learn and develop their legal careers with experience at Philadelphia's top law firms.

In addition to our involvement in the Philadelphia area, Duane Morris has increased our presence at national conferences and events focused on diversity. We sponsor the Hispanic National Bar Association and its job fair. Duane Morris is also a longtime supporter and sponsor of the Equality Forum, a national gay and lesbian rights organization. Duane Morris continues to sponsor the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, and is active in other associations of diverse attorneys including: the Asian American Bar Association of the Delaware Valley; the Charles Houston Bar Association; Cuban Bar Association; Korean American Lawyers Association; National American Indian Housing Counsel and the National Bar Association.

The challenge of improving gender, ethnic and cultural diversity at Duane Morris is an ongoing effort that has the support of the entire firm. Duane Morris has been at the vanguard in supporting gender diversity throughout the firm beginning a generation ago. Our diversity programs are leading to similar success in improving racial and national origin diversity at Duane Morris. But even as we share these examples of Duane Morris attorneys and our involvement in numerous legal events, associations and programs for diversity, our hope is that such examples will no longer be necessary to mention in the future. We hope that through our efforts, and the efforts of other law firms, these stories become so common that they are no longer the remarkable accomplishments they are today, but simply routine aspects of the legal world tomorrow.