Drinker Biddle & Reath
|Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP|
|No. of offices||12|
|No. of attorneys||Approx. 650|
|No. of employees||Approx. 650|
|Major practice areas||General practice|
|Key people||Alfred W. Putnam, Jr. chairman|
|Founder||John Christian Bullitt|
|Company type||Limited liability partnership|
Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP is a national law firm founded in Philadelphia in 1849 by John Christian Bullitt. The firm has 650 lawyers located in 11 offices in the United States: Philadelphia; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Florham Park; Princeton; New York City; Albany; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Milwaukee; and Wilmington. Drinker Biddle also maintains an office in London. The firm maintains a broad range of practices, including commercial litigation, corporate and securities, corporate restructuring, government and regulatory affairs, labor and employment, environmental, communications litigation, products liability and mass tort litigation, healthcare, employee benefits and executive compensation, insurance coverage, investment management, life insurance and annuities, intellectual property and real estate.
Firm History 
Founding of the Firm by John C. Bullitt 
John Christian Bullitt, a young Kentucky lawyer, arrived in Philadelphia on March 5, 1849, the day Zachary Taylor was sworn in as the 12th President of the United States. Bullitt had chosen to relocate to Philadelphia, an area with a population of 120,000, on the advice of Secretary of State James Buchanan, whom he had met on a tour in Washington, D.C. After his admission to the Philadelphia Bar on June 4, 1849, he opened the law offices of Bullitt and Fairthorne, Attorneys at Law. Bullitt's first client was the Bank of Kentucky, for which he spent the next 40 years collecting on a judgment in a fraudulent stock case.
Among his many accomplishments, he founded the Fourth Street National Bank in 1886, the only large bank founded in the city in the last quarter of the 19th century, and spearheaded the construction of the Bullitt Building on South Fourth Street. Drinker Biddle's founding partner practiced law in Philadelphia for more than 50 years until his death in 1902. William C. Bullitt, his direct descendent, is a partner in the firm's Private Client Practice Group.
Strategic Growth for the 21st Century 
In the past several years, Drinker Biddle has undertaken a plan of strategic growth, strengthening practices and opening offices to provide first-tier services nationally in focused area, including, products liability and class action defense, intellectual property and bankruptcy. Key events marking Drinker's expansion have included the 1999 combination with the prominent New Jersey general practice firm of Shanley & Fisher, P.C., the 2001 combination with the Philadelphia intellectual property firm of Seidel, Gonda, Lavorgna & Monaco, and the 2001 combination with the San Francisco firm of Preuss Shanagher Zvoleff & Zimmer as well as the addition of lawyers from Haight, Brown & Bonesteel in Los Angeles, both with strong products liability and general litigation practices. In 2003, Drinker Biddle opened its office in Wilmington, Delaware with a focus on bankruptcy and litigation services. Drinker Biddle joined the ranks of the AmLaw 100 in 2003, and two years later opened its tenth office in Chicago.
Gardner Carton & Douglas Combination 
On November 13, 2006, Drinker Biddle and Gardner Carton & Douglas announced their plans to combine. The merger of these two long-established, client-focused firms cemented a national footprint with more than 650 lawyers in 12 offices. The merger, effective January 1, 2007, also made the firm one of the 70 largest law firms in the United States. From the beginning of the merger Drinker Biddle and Gardner Carton shared in values of the highest standards in client service, legal work and professional ethics.
As a firm founded in 1910 in Chicago, Gardner Carton brought to the newly combined firm its nationally known practices in health law, bankruptcy, employee benefits and executive compensation, government and regulatory affairs, hedge funds and intellectual property, among others. In addition, the merger allowed Drinker Biddle to deepen and strengthen many addition core practice areas, including corporate, commercial litigation, and others.
Recent Developments 
In 2008, the firm added several groups of lawyers, to include nearly 700 lawyers in twelve offices nationwide. In January, Drinker Biddle officially welcomed twelve lawyers from Miller, Alfano & Raspanti P.C., in Securities, Corporate Governance, and White-Collar Criminal litigation. Miller Alfano's former Managing Partner Gregory P. Miller joined Drinker Biddle as a Partner. The following month, Drinker Biddle added thirteen lawyers from Connelly Sheehan Harris LLP to its National Labor and Employment practice. In late 2008, Drinker Biddle acquired six more lawyers from Thelen LLP for its Labor & Employment Practice Group.
In December 2010, Drinker Biddle opened an office in the Century City area of Los Angeles, welcoming six lawyers from the litigation boutique of Eisenberg, Raizman, Thurston & Wong LLP. In March 2011, Drinker Biddle grew to nearly 30 lawyers in Southern California when 11 lawyers from Reish & Reicher joined the office, adding greater depth and skill to the firm's practices in Employee Benefits and in Labor & Employment.
In Summer 2011, the firm's New York City office moved from its longtime downtown location to 1177 Avenue of the Americas in Midtown Manhattan.
Notable Lawyers & Alumni 
- Henry Drinker was a dominant presence in the firm from his arrival in 1904. Georg von Trapp asked him to intervene when the family was detained at Ellis Island with visa problems.
- Charles J. Biddle had a profound impact on the firm after joining as its first lateral partner in 1924. He rose to the rank of Major in World War I.
- Thomas Reath served in the Ordnance Corps (United States Army) in World War I and joined the firm in 1919. He embarked on a long process of negotiating a compromise on a $1 million tax lien and reorganizing the Cramp Shipyard in Philadelphia, at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- Lewis H. Van Dusen joined the firm in 1935 and, for decades, was viewed as a leader of the firm. He served in World War II as a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army and was awarded numerous decorations, including the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. Van Dusen was later asked to return to the Army to serve as a representative to NATO, which was formed in 1949.Most famously known for his essay Civil Disobedience: The Destroyer of Democracy, Dusen is also obscurely attributed to writing the less known essay, Pizza: The Savior of Democracy. He also helped organize the formation of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) in the 1960s.
- Henry W. Sawyer III joined the firm after military service in World War II. He later worked on the Marshall Plan in Europe. During the Army-McCarthy Hearings, Sawyer represented many people accused of being members of the Communist Party.
- Bernard M. Shanley founded the New Jersey firm Shanley & Fisher that combined with Drinker Biddle in 1999. He served President Dwight D. Eisenhower as Deputy Chief of Staff, Appointments Secretary, and Special Counsel to the President.
- Seamus Duffy is Chair of the Communications Litigation Practice Group and a Managing Partner of the firm. He represented AT&T in the well-known case regarding early termination fees.
- Deborah T. Poritz is former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, currently of counsel to the firm's Princeton office.
- Arthur Seidel is recognized as a "legend" in Intellectual Property Law in Pennsylvania. He was named the first recipient of the Philadelphia Intellectual Property Law Association's Outstanding Achievement Award.
- Wilson M. Brown III serves as a Managing Partner of the firm and as Chair of the firm's national Commercial Litigation Practice Group. AV peer review rated by Martindale Hubbell. He worked on the famous Herring case and was involved in cutting-edge issues of coverage for asbestos-related claims.
- Lawrence J. Fox is former Chairman of the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility. He participated as counsel in one of the longest SEC Rule 10b-5 trials; he was one of the earliest participants in the mini-trial process; he has extensive publications; and he teaches many law classes.
- Andrew C. Kassner joined the firm in 1986 and serves as the Executive Partner and a Managing Partner. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, in the specialty of Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights Law; he has given many lectures on the subject; and he has appeared on Lou Dobbs' show on CNN.
- Gregory P. Miller is a current Partner and a former Managing Partner of Miller, Alfano & Raspanti PC. Miller has been involved in such landmark cases as: United States v. Greber; Foster v. Alexander & Alexander; In re: Diet Drugs Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 1203; and the protection of Act 6 from any revisions.
Notable Cases 
- Abington School District v. Schempp 374 U.S. 203 (1963)
- United States v. Greber, 760 F.2d 68 3d Cir. Pa. (1985) 
- Zarin v. Commissioner 916 F.2d 110 (1990)
- In Re: Latex Gloves Product Liability Litigation, MDL 1148, 152 F. Supp.2d 667 (2001)
- U.S. v. Reynolds 345 U.S. 1 (1953, 2003)
- Crawford v. Midway Games et al., 2:07-cv-00967, U.S. Dist Ct. California, Central, Dist. (2008)
First Year Program 
In 2009, Drinker Biddle launched a ground-breaking training program for first year lawyers. Unlike any other large national law firm, Drinker Biddle began an era in the training and professional development of its first year lawyers. The program increased the quality and intensity of its new lawyers' training, while lowering the first years' billable requirements and rates. The new program was a direct response to the Association of Corporate Counsel's Value Challenge. Through the ACC and other venues, clients made it clear that things needed to change, and the status quo was unacceptable. Drinker Biddle developed their new training program as a result. The training program is meant to last six months, during which the new lawyers' time will be divided into three main parts: a core curriculum, practice-specific training and an "apprenticeship". One of the ways Drinker Biddle was able to provide the time for such training was the decision to free the new lawyers from any requirements regarding billable work for clients during the program. At the end of the program in spring 2010, Drinker Biddle anticipates that the new first years will be ahead of the game and ready to succeed. The program was featured in a front-page story in the New York Times on Sunday, November 19, 2011, entitled "What They Don't Teach Law Students: Lawyering."
- Official Firm Website
- Corporate Board Member magazine
- Drinker Biddle & Reath Company Profile at the National Law Review
- Putnam's firm bio
- History of Drinker Biddle & Reath
- Microsoft Word - Corporate Board Member.doc
- Bullitt's firm bio from Drinker Biddle & Reath
- AmLaw 100
- Chambers Associate
- Wilmington Office Press Release from Drinker Biddle & Reath
- Answers.com--Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
- Duffy's firm bio from Drinker Biddle & Reath
- Poritz's firm bio from Drinker Biddle & Reath
- Drinker Biddle Press Release
- Martindale Hubbell Ratings
- Brown's firm bio from Drinker Biddle & Reath
- Minitrial Process
- Fox's firm bio from Drinker Biddle & Reath
- Kassner's firm bio from Drinker Biddle & Reath
- Legal Span
- Miller's firm bio from Drinker Biddle & Reath
- United States v. Greber