Attorney Intel is pleased to announce The 25 Notable Attorneys of Pennsylvania for 2023. Pennsylvania spans the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, Appalachian, and Great Lakes regions of the United States. Being home to almost 50 of the 1,000 largest public and private companies in the U.S. (by sales), many of the state’s best legal minds are in demand. They serve not only as in-house counsel but also as mediators, litigators, and trial attorneys. In this notable group of lawyers are award-winning attorneys, environmental pioneers, and veterans of the legal field.
Among this year’s awardees is Lynn Charytan, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Comcast Cable. Charytan continues to receive many accolades for her work, including being named the “Most Powerful Women in Cable” by CableFax Magazine, “Wonder Woman” by Multichannel News, and as a “Top Lawyer” in the CableFax 100. Awardee John Grugan, Partner at Ballard Spahr LLP, is listed annually in Benchmark Litigation as a local litigation star and a "Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" by Law & Politics and Philadelphia magazines. Also awarded is Brian Clark, a Partner at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, who's been involved in landmark environmental and energy legislative initiatives.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The 25 Notable Attorneys of Pennsylvania for 2023.
Attorney, K&L Gates
Ryan Porco is an Attorney at K&L Gates. His practice focuses on immigration law, health law, real estate deeds, contracts, power of attorney, and subordination agreements.
Before joining K&L Gates, Porco was a Staff Attorney at KLDiscovery. Before that, he was the Director of Corporate Sales & Fleet Management at Broadway Limousine Inc. Earlier in his career, he worked with DHL as a Field Sales Executive. Porco graduated from Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University with a JD in tax law and real estate development, from the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business with an MBA in management information systems, and from the University of Miami with an undergraduate degree in economics.
Partner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Lisa Dykstra is a Partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Dykstra is a seasoned litigator and trial lawyer representing pharmaceutical, medical device, and other healthcare and technology organizations. She routinely develops and executes strategies to address and exit large-scale, high-profile crisis situations in cases arising under the False Claims Act (FCA), the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the Medicaid Rebate Statute. Dykstra has an active pro bono practice. She has served on the Criminal Justice Act Panel for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and is a participant in the Pennsylvania Innocence Project.
She previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of New Jersey Criminal Division. Dykstra graduated from Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law with a JD and New York University with a Bachelor of Arts in Russian and literature.
Lynn R. Charytan
EVP & General Counsel, Comcast Cable
EVP & Senior Deputy General Counsel, Comcast Corporation
Lynn Charytan is the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Comcast Cable. In this role, she oversees the full range of legal affairs of Comcast Cable and the wide array of technologies, products, and services delivered to consumers and businesses. Charytan is also responsible for the company’s regulatory compliance with NBCUniversal transaction requirements. Charytan previously served as Senior Vice President of Legal Regulatory Affairs and Senior Deputy General Counsel of Comcast Corporation.
Prior to joining Comcast in 2010, Charytan spent more than 17 years at WilmerHale in Washington, DC, where she served as the chair of its Communications, Privacy, and Internet Law Practice Group. During her tenure at the firm, she counseled clients in all communications industry sectors on law matters pertaining to telecommunications, privacy, security, and the internet. Prior to this, Charytan spent two years as In-House Counsel to The Washington Post. She also clerked for Judge Stanley Sporkin on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Charytan earned a JD from Harvard Law School and a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University.
Partner, Holland & Knight LLP
Craig Circosta is a Partner and transactional attorney in Holland & Knight's Philadelphia office. His practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) as well as general corporate and securities matters. Circosta's clients range from small, privately-owned companies to Fortune 100 public companies. Circosta is highly experienced in a broad variety of M&A transactions, including public and private mergers, stock acquisitions and divestitures, and asset purchases and sales. He represents clients in a wide range of industries, including medical devices, chemicals, aerospace, insurance, and retail.
Before joining Holland & Knight, Circosta was an M&A practice group leader at Ballard Spahr LLP, where he was for over 18 years. Before this, he was a Summer Associate at Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP and a Senior Accountant at KPMG. Circosta graduated from the Boston University School of Law with a JD and Villanova University with a bachelor's degree in accounting.
Partner, Cooley LLP
Jeff Libson is a Partner at Cooley LLP. He has practiced for more than 35 years and is widely regarded as one of the leading life sciences practitioners in the eastern U.S. His focus is on representing life sciences companies in business matters, including governance, financings, M&A, and strategic transactions. For the past 15 years, Lisbon has been an adjunct professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches a graduate business course in life sciences entrepreneurship.
Libson previously spent over 35 years at Pepper Hamilton LLP as a Partner and Head of the Life Sciences Practice. He graduated from Duke University School of Law with a JD and Oberlin College with a BA in economics and English.
Senior Counsel, CareSource
Ian Long is the Senior Counsel of CareSource. Before joining CareSource, Long was an Assistant General Counsel at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Before that, he was an Associate at Stradley Ronon. Earlier in his career, he worked as a Judicial Law Clerk with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Long graduated from Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law with a JD and an undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Delaware.
Partner, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP
Pete Swayze is a Partner in the Philadelphia office of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP. He’s also the Life Sciences Practice co-chair and the Products Liability Practice vice-chair. Swayze primarily concentrates his practice on defending clients facing claims of catastrophic injuries from product liability and complex litigation matters. Swayze previously served as Lead Defense Counsel in the Philadelphia latex glove allergy litigation. He now serves as defense liaison counsel in two pharmaceutical products liability matters involving branded and generic prescription drugs and medical devices pending in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. At the national level, Swayze has served as National Coordinating Counsel for two OTC drug product companies, participating in and managing the clients' cases nationally.
Prior to joining Lewis Brisbois, Swayze was a Managing Shareholder and Chair of the Drug and Medical Device Practice Group for Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney. Swayze graduated from the Widener University School of Law with a JD and the University of Richmond with a bachelor’s degree.
General Counsel, SEI
Wendy Blanch is the General Counsel of SEI. She provides legal services to a state-chartered trust company sponsoring collective investment trusts in the U.S. institutional plan market. Blanch first joined the company in 2004 as Corporate Counsel, serving as internal ERISA counsel to various business units as well as in-house benefit plans.
Previously, Blanch spent five years at Deloitte as the Manager of Employee Benefits Tax and as a Compliance Examiner at the National Association of Securities Dealers (now FINRA). She first got her start in 1995 as Legal Staff at Kline & Specter PC. Blanch graduated from Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law with a JD, Georgetown University Law Center with an LLM in taxation, and the University of Delaware with an undergraduate degree in political science and history.
James Lee is an Attorney at Littler. He represents and counsels employers in all aspects of employment and labor law. Lee’s practice ranges from proactive counseling to litigation, with a focus on discrimination, retaliation and harassment, wage and hour, labor negotiations and disputes, and internal investigations.
Prior to joining Littler, Lee served as Deputy General Counsel for Conrail. He led strategy on labor and employment disputes, among other responsibilities. Prior to this, he was an Associate at Hawkins Parnell & Young, LLP, Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, Gallo Vitucci Klar LLP, and McDonnell & Adels, PLLC. Lee graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a master's degree in social policy, the Cardozo School of Law with a JD, and Temple University with a bachelor's degree in psychology and religion.
General Counsel, Advantest
Teresa Reid is the General Counsel of Advantest. Her practice focuses on commercial contract negotiation, intellectual property, law department management, employment law counseling, and technology and software licensing.
Before joining Advantest, Reid was an Associate Attorney at McCausland Keen & Buckman. Before that, she was an Associate Attorney at Post & Schell, P.C. Earlier in her career, she worked with Margolis Edelstein as an Associate Attorney. Reid graduated from Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law with a JD and from Penn State University with an undergraduate degree in political science.
Partner, Dechert LLP
Vernon Francis is a Partner at Dechert LLP in the firm’s complex litigation group. He has litigated cases in a variety of areas, including product liability and mass torts. He also works with the labor and employment group in litigating employment discrimination actions, performing workplace investigations, and providing advice on workplace privacy and other employment issues for a variety of clients. Francis has defended newspapers and television stations in defamation matters and, since 2010, has also been consistently recognized by Best Lawyers in America for his work in First Amendment Law. He's currently an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he teaches topics in defamation.
Before joining Dechert, he was Associate Counsel in the Office of the Honorable Lawrence E. Walsh, Esq., the independent counsel charged with investigating the Iran/Contra Affair (1989-92). Francies graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School with a JD and Haverford College with an AB in political science.
General Counsel, Fox Rothschild LLP
Thomas Paradise is the General Counsel of Fox Rothschild LLP, an AmLaw 100 full-service law firm built to serve businesses of all sizes as well as individuals. Paradise is responsible for developing and implementing risk management programs and policies, managing professional liability and insurance issues, and performing ombudsman duties. Prior to his appointment as General Counsel, he served as Chair of the Professional Liability Defense Group. He has been with the firm for more than three decades.
Before joining Fox Rothschild LLP, he was a Foreign Student Advisor at ELS Language Centers. Paradise graduated from Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law with a JD and from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with an undergraduate degree in political science.
General Counsel, Fox Chase Cancer Center
Jerome Maddox is the General Counsel of Fox Chase Cancer Center. Maddox brings extensive experience in the commercialization of complex life sciences advancements. He first joined the company in 2022.
Previously, Maddox was the Vice President of Global Commercial and Public Policy in the legal department at Moderna, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Before that, he was the VP of U.S. Legal For Vaccines And Global Commercial at GSK. Earlier in his career, he worked with Stanford University as an assistant professor at the department of political science. Maddox earned his JD from the Temple University Beasley School of Law. Before attending law school, he earned a Ph.D. in political science at Harvard University and earned his bachelor’s degree in government.
Partner, Troutman Pepper
John Carroll is the Partner of Troutman Pepper. His practice focuses on government relations in the environmental and energy field. He has represented clients in complex litigation matters in various environmental law disciplines, including air issues, waste, wetland regulation, groundwater contamination, and natural resource areas.
Previously, Carroll was a Partner in the environment and energy law practice group at Pepper Hamilton LLP. Before that, he was Chief Counsel at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources. Carroll earned a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and an undergraduate degree in geology from the University of Pennsylvania.
General Counsel, Community College of Philadelphia
Victoria Zellers is General Counsel at the Community College of Philadelphia. Zellers has over fifteen years of experience as a labor and employment attorney.
Prior to this, she was a partner at Cozen O'Connor. Before that, she was an Associate at Klett Rooney Lieber & Schorling, where she focused on labor and employment law. Earlier in her career, she worked as a Summer Associate at Tomar. Zellers has a JD from Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and public administration from James Madison University.
General Counsel, University of Scranton
Dr. Robert Farrell is General Counsel at the University of Scranton. Dr. Farrell oversees all University legal affairs and is responsible for Scranton's overall legal strategy. He serves as a member of the President's Cabinet and advises the President, the Board of Trustees, and the administration on a wide range of legal matters. He has practiced law for over 27 years with extensive legal and management experience in university, municipal and nonprofit settings. Throughout his career, he has specialized in higher education, municipal, employment, labor, and corporate law. Dr. Farrell joined Scranton as Director of Community Relations in 2008 and served as the Executive Director of Community Relations and Public Safety in 2009, prior to becoming General Counsel.
Prior to joining Scranton, Dr. Farrell served as the City Solicitor to the City of Scranton. Before working for the city, he was a Partner in the law firm of Kreder, Brooks, Hailstone & Ludwig and spent his first year out of law school as a Judicial Law Clerk. Dr. Farrell has a JD from the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University, an Ed.D. in higher education management, with distinction, from the University of Pennsylvania, and an AB in history from the College of the Holy Cross.
General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Medtech CRO NAMSA
Kevin Slattery is General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Medtech CRO NAMSA. He is responsible for all legal matters related to the company. This includes oversight of litigation and contracts, advising on corporate governance and regulatory compliance issues, and directing NAMSA through all its M&A activity.
Before joining NAMSA, Slattery held various in-house positions of increasing responsibility at global life sciences companies, including pharmaceutical companies Sanofi and Viatris (formerly Mylan). He primarily focused on business development matters, specifically mergers, and acquisitions involving the negotiation of complex deals in international markets. Slattery earned his JD from the Duquesne University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University.
Partner, Ballard Spahr LLP
John Grugan is a Partner at Ballard Spahr LLP. He represents clients in government investigations and complex litigation brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and state attorneys general. At Ballard, he has held a number of leadership positions, including serving as a member of the Firm’s Elected Board.
Grugan is a frequent lecturer and author on topics such as government investigations of financial services institutions and protecting corporate interests in internal investigations. He is listed annually in Benchmark Litigation as a "local litigation star" and a "Pennsylvania Super Lawyer" by Law & Politics and Philadelphia magazines. In the community, he is a member of several non-profit boards and is active with several Philadelphia-area civic and charitable organizations. Before joining Ballard Spahr, John was a Law Clerk to the Honorable James McGirr Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He also served as a Trial Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice Honor Program, Civil Division.
Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP
A Partner in Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, LLP’s Pittsburgh office, Jeremy Mercer is an experienced commercial litigator who, for more than a decade, has focused on energy, with an emphasis on oil and gas litigation. His extensive experience in the shale and hydraulic fracturing arena spans the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and includes work in administrative proceedings, state trial and appellate courts, and federal trial and appellate courts.
Over the course of that decade-plus of work, Jeremy has faced many issues of first impression as the Marcellus and Utica booms have required Pennsylvania courts to address issues never before faced in the Commonwealth. He represented a major E&P operator in the trial and appellate courts securing a decision that a lease’s shut-in clause did not require a well to be capable of producing without further work in order to be considered “shut-in” and maintain the lease. He also was part of the team that secured a first-in-the-nation decision that hydraulic fracturing is not an inherently dangerous activity. Jeremy graduated from Youngstown State University with his undergraduate degree and from The Ohio State University with his JD in Law.
Senior Counsel, Hickey Smith Dodd LLP
Damian Sammons serves as Senior Counsel for Hickey Smith Dodd LLP. He works as the regional trial counsel for the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. His practice focuses on general liability defense with a specialization in asbestos and talc defense. Throughout his career, he has defended numerous complaints pertaining to allegations of product liability and construction design defects.
Sammons began his career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, litigating numerous trials to verdict. Following his career as a prosecutor, Sammons worked as a criminal defense attorney, practicing in the state and federal courts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, cross-examining witnesses and experts, and winning multiple verdicts on behalf of clients in both trial and appellate courts. Sammons has a JD from Rutgers Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas.
Attorney, Kozloff Stoudt Attorneys
Allen Gehring is an Attorney at Kozloff Stoudt Attorneys. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Saint Leo University.
Prior to his legal career, Gehring spent five years working as a full-time professor at Brescia University in Owensboro, Kentucky. While at Brescia, Gehring won a number of awards for being an outstanding professor, including Brescia’s Presidential Award for Teaching Innovation. Gehring has also taught at numerous colleges and universities throughout the U.S., including Indiana University, Ball State University, Texas A&M University, and the Reading Area Community College. Gehring graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center with a JD, Indiana University Bloomington with a Ph.D. in philosophy, Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in philosophy, and Cedarville University with a bachelor’s degree.
Partner, Clark Hill PLC
Peter Blume is a Partner at Clark Hill PLC. Blume represents businesses ranging from start-up ventures to public companies on a wide array of issues such as formation, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital financings, public and private securities offerings, and joint ventures. As the co-leader of Clark Hill’s Investment Management Group, he frequently counsels broker-dealers and investment advisers on regulatory compliance issues, including SEC, FINRA, and state enforcement matters. He also regularly represents private equity funds and their sponsors and fund investors in all aspects of fund formation, operation, and capital raising. Blume is a frequent lecturer and author on these and other corporate and securities topics for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute.
Previously, Blume spent almost three decades at Thorp Reed & Armstrong as an Associate and Partner. Before this, he was an Associate at Buchanan Ingersoll. Blume graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a JD and Yale University with a BA.
Partner, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC
Brian Clark is a Partner at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC. His diverse practice spans 30 years and covers three primary areas: environmental counseling, administrative and toxic tort litigation, and governmental relations. Clark has also been involved in landmark environmental and energy legislative initiatives for business clients, including the development of deregulation programs for natural gas and electricity before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and the General Assembly.
Before joining Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, he was an Associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Before this, Clark was Majority Counsel to the Pennsylvania Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. In this capacity, he drafted major state environmental laws, including the Oil and Gas Act, the State Superfund Act, the Storage Tank Act, and the Municipal Waste Planning, Waste Reduction, and Recycling Act. Best Lawyers named Clark the 2022 Lawyer of the Year in Harrisburg in the area of Environmental Litigation. He’s also recognized as a leading environmental lawyer by Chambers USA. Clark graduated from Penn State Dickinson Law with a JD and Penn State University with a bachelor's degree in political science and government.
Partner, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP
Patrick Oakes is a Partner at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP and is part of the firm’s insurance practice and healthcare Practice. He represents a wide array of business and individual clients with varied economic interests involved in national and international pursuits, including real estate, health care, banking, and insurance matters. His experience includes advising clients on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, financings, regulatory matters, litigation, and development matters. He is actively involved in the transactional and general representation of general business, insurance, reinsurance, real estate, and healthcare industry clients.
Oakes graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School with a JD and Saint Joseph's University with a bachelor’s degree.
Partner, Kutak Rock
Melissa Bozeman is Partner and Attorney at Kutak Rock LLP. She is a commercial litigator who devotes her practice to strategic problem-solving and contingency planning for a variety of business clients and entrepreneurs. In her litigation practice, she has represented clients involved in various types of business disputes in state and federal courts across the nation, including most recently in California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Previously, she was at Weir & Partners LLP for seven years as an Associate. Before this, she was an Associate for J.R. Julian, P.A. Earlier in her career, she was a Judicial Extern for Hon. Jane Cutler Greenspan, Court of Common Pleas, Criminal-Homicide Division. Bozeman was awarded the Rising Stars distinction in 2010 and 2013–2019, a designation of top-rated practicing attorneys selected through an extensive evaluation. Bozeman graduated from Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law with a JD and Villanova University with a Bachelor of Arts.