Business & Practice

Blank Rome to Shuffle Leaders in 2019

March 12, 2018, 9:19 PM

Blank Rome LLP’s chair and managing partner will hand over day-to-day duties to the firm’s top litigator under a leadership transition plan, the firm announced today.

Grant S. Palmer, currently chair of the firm’s litigation department, will become the firm’s sixth managing partner Jan. 1, 2019. Current Chairman and Managing Partner Alan J. Hoffman will continue on as chairman until 2020.

The change is a result of a “strategic succession plan” the partners and firm leadership developed throughout 2017, Hoffman said. As the firm continues to grow by adding new offices, attorneys, and expanding into new practice areas, it became clear that decisions should be made and implemented “not only by more than one person, but also by someone who’s going to be here over the next 10 to 15 years,” Hoffman told Big Law Business in a phone call March 12.

Hoffman has served as both chairman and managing partner since 2014. “I’ve had both roles for a long period of time,” Hoffman said. “It should be more than just one person making those decisions.”

Before taking on dual duties, Hoffman served as managing partner from 2011 to 2014, and co-chair from 2008 to 2013. Under Hoffman’s leadership, Blank Rome expanded from a regional firm to a national one, adding offices in Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Tampa, Fla.

Serving exclusively as chair will allow Hoffman to focus more on questions of “strategic growth,” he said. He hasn’t decided what he will do after 2020.

Hoffman and Palmer, who have worked together for more than 25 years, said they’ll continue to work together to manage the firm.

Palmer joined Blank Rome in 1990, and has served a number of leadership roles at the firm, including chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee, which he founded in 2003. He manages more than 300 trial lawyers in all of the firm’s offices and has already worked closely with Hoffman on firm-wide issues and has played a role in leading the firm for at least the last five or six years.

Hoffman will be the firm’s “very involved chair,” Palmer said, and Palmer will take over as the “day-to-day CEO.”

Going forward, Palmer said it’s important that the firm continue to grow each of its offices—not only the five biggest offices in Philadelphia, Washington, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York—but also the others, such as the Pittsburgh office.

Palmer has litigated in a wide range of areas, including class actions, patent and intellectual property, fraud, corporate shareholder litigation, cybersecurity, and trade secrets.

Asked whether he would continue his litigation practice as chair, Palmer said that he will probably still “go to bed at night thinking about client problems” but plans to shift most of his focus as managing partner to improving the law firm and working with all the attorneys.

Founded in 1946 in Philadelphia, Blank Rome now has 13 offices and more than 600 attorneys and principals nationwide.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie A. Pappas in Philadelphia at lpappas@bloomberglaw.com.

To contact the editor on this story: Casey Sullivan in New York at csullivan@bloomberglaw.com and Nicholas Datlowe in Arlington at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com.

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