Although Pepper Hamilton started out as a two- person law firm, it now boasts over five hundred lawyers and hundreds of staff members. The firm, which was founded in Philadelphia in 1890, serves clients, ranging from major individuals and small businesses to leading corporations, throughout the world. Pepper Hamilton
's major practice areas include bankruptcy, commercial litigation, construction, corporate securities, employee benefits, environmental, financial services, health effects, insurance, intellectual property, labor, real estate, tax, and trusts and estates.
As a firm, Pepper Hamilton accepted the Law Firm Pro Bono
Challenge, promising to dedicate an amount equivalent to three percent of billable hours to pro bono work. The firm's pro bono practice groups include the Child Advocacy Practice Group, Children's Supplemental Security Income Benefits Practice Group, Homeless Advocacy Practice Group, Immigrant Domestic Violence Practice Group, Prisoner Civil Rights Practice Group, and Veterans' Benefits Practice Group. Pepper Hamilton is in the process of developing a firm-wide practice group to aid nonprofits in applying for a tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code. The firm also assists law students in pro bono partnerships such as the Villanova Law School
Lawyering Together partnership. Through this partnership, attorney's from the Berwyn office provide help and support to law students in the representation of certain groups, such as the elderly and tenants, in matters pertaining to civil rights, public benefits, tax , and real estate. Lawyers within all practice areas of Pepper Hamilton are involved in the firm's pro bono groups.
Associates who work for Pepper Hamilton are provided with a formal development program, which is based on the following five facets: professional competency framework, mentoring, training, evaluation, and professional development planning. The program relies on the professional competency framework to address skills, such as legal skills, communication skills, and professionalism, necessary for success. The mentoring program encourages a seamless integration into the firm by matching first year associates with more senior associates, who can provide assistance as needed. The firm supports training by encouraging participation in external seminars and workshops, on-the-job training, and in- house training sessions through the continuing legal education program. The evaluation process involves an annual performance review as well as a self-assessment. Professional development, within the program, refers mainly to on-the-job-training, including work with pro bono clients.
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