Lawyers at Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott in Philadelphia achieved a nationwide first by persuading state regulators that fostering competition in local telephone services requires the breakup of Bell-Atlantic Pennsylvania Inc.

“We’ve established a very important legal precedent which will go toward leveling the playing field in opening up telecommunications competition,” said Steven P. Hershey, a member of Eckert Seamans’ energy and utility department.