Duane Morris LLP has announced a leadership transition plan under which Firm Vice Chair and Trial Practice Group Chair Matthew A. Taylor will become Duane Morris’ ninth chairman and CEO since the firm’s founding in 1904. The changes become effective in January 2018. John J. Soroko, who has served as chairman and CEO for the last 10 years, will become chairman emeritus and will return on a full-time basis to his litigation, appellate and mediation practice. While chairman and CEO from 2008 to the present, Soroko oversaw the growth of the firm in lawyer headcount, new markets, international expansion and financial performance.
In addition, Thomas G. Servodidio, currently chair of Duane Morris’ Employment, Labor, Benefits, and Immigration Practice Group, will assume the role of firm vice chair.
“I am extremely pleased that Matt Taylor will be taking over the leadership of Duane Morris,” Soroko said. “Having discussed this transition within the firm over the past year, I know, as do all our partners, that Matt will do an outstanding job leading Duane Morris. After 10 years as chair, I do see this as a good time for me to return to the full-time practice of law, and I really look forward to doing that,” Soroko said. “With Matt’s background of having served both as our vice chair and as the long-time and very effective head of our largest practice group, he has the strong leadership skills, including, most importantly, the ‘people skills’ to keep Duane Morris moving in the right direction. Because Matt has so successfully managed a practice group of 300 trial lawyers, he is particularly well prepared to lead our firm. I know that Matt and Tom Servodidio will be a very effective team.”
“It is humbling to be asked to lead such a great firm that has been so successful for well over 100 years,” Taylor said. “It will be my focus to continue the success achieved by Duane Morris during the 20 years since I joined as a senior associate in 1997. We are in a particularly good position to build and strengthen our platform with quality lawyers in many practice areas to better meet our clients’ needs. We plan on taking advantage of those significant assets, and to be smart in how we grow. I see my job as being an advocate for all our current lawyers to expand their practices and also, importantly, to attract new lawyers to further strengthen our firm.”
Taylor is a 1989 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and a 1986 graduate of Boston College. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel. Taylor serves as a board member of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools (BLOCS), as well as serving on the board of his alma mater, Malvern Preparatory School. Taylor is listed in Chambers USA’s America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as one of Pennsylvania’s leading trial lawyers.
“As a member of our executive committee for the past eight years, Matt has been a critical part of our firm’s success and he has played a major role in developing our key business strategies,” Soroko said. “Most of all, he has a very keen sense for what clients want and need from their law firms, which is absolutely critical in today’s legal industry.”
Soroko oversaw the growth of Duane Morris to 750 lawyers together with significant increases in the firm’s revenue, profitability and capital structure; additions to the firm’s presence in Philadelphia, New York, Miami and Los Angeles; the establishment of the firm’s Silicon Valley office; the launch of the firm’s Singapore-based joint venture, Duane Morris & Selvam; as well as operations in other emerging Asian markets, including Taiwan, Shanghai, Myanmar, Oman, and Sri Lanka. Duane Morris’ business culture, under his leadership, was profiled in the 2013 Harvard Business School case study “Collaborating for Growth: Duane Morris in a Turbulent Legal Sector.”
Soroko currently serves as the president judge of the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline and as co-chair of the Judicial Nomination Advisory Panel for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the advisory board of the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession and has been listed by Chambers USA’s America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as an “Eminent Practitioner” in Pennsylvania in the field of litigation. He also serves as a trustee or director of a number of civic and charitable organizations, including the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and the William B. Dietrich Foundation.
Commenting on the legacy of previous Duane Morris chairs, Taylor said, “Most of the hard work has been done by the talented leaders at the firm who preceded me. I will have the difficult task of following John Soroko, who for 10 years has guided our firm with a steady hand, even through the collapse of the financial markets. Under John’s very able leadership, the firm has grown steadily in revenue and profitability, during a time when many firms could not say the same thing. It will be my job to build on what we have today and to make it even stronger. I am very eager to take on that challenge.”
Thomas Servodidio, who will become the firm’s vice chair, has headed Duane Morris’ Employment, Labor, Benefits and Immigration practice for more than 15 years and has served on the firm’s executive committee for the last five years. He is a 1987 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a 1984 graduate of Bucknell University. He has been recognized by Chambers USA’s America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as one of Pennsylvania’s leading employment lawyers.
“With Tom Servodidio as an active firm vice chair, helping me to manage the firm on a day to day basis, I can plan to stay active in my litigation practice and serve as a lead trial counsel in key matters for firm clients,” Taylor said.
About Duane Morris
Duane Morris LLP provides innovative solutions to today’s multifaceted legal and business challenges through the collegial and collaborative culture of its more than 750 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally. The firm represents a broad array of clients, spanning all major practices and industries.