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The pipeline from Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis to Cozen & O’Connor continues as veteran Schnader litigator Philip G. Kircher becomes the latest to make the move. Kircher, who spent all of his 23-year career with Schnader, said he decided to follow in the footsteps of the quartet of corporate partners — John Cunningham, Edward Baxter, David Petkun and Richard Silpe — who left the firm last year for Cozen. Intellectual property partner Richard Silpe, another Schnader veteran who spent a year with Dilworth Paxson, followed the quartet to Cozen only weeks later. Those relationships clearly were a major reason for the move, made earlier this month. “I know John and Ed very well and I did a lot of trial work for them and their clients,” Kircher said. “Because I did so much work for them, it made sense to rejoin them.” According to Kircher, Cunningham contacted him shortly after moving to Cozen last March to see if he would be interested. Kircher said no but Cunningham followed up in the fall and set up a meeting with firm vice chairman Patrick O’Connor. O’Connor, who is trying to taper down the number of trials he handles as he prepares to assume the firm’s central management role from Stephen Cozen, was looking for an experienced litigator to pick up some of that slack. “As I make the transition [to management], I felt we needed someone with experience to help us out,” O’Connor said. “Phil’s a huge player who knows how to try a case and he fits in with the kind of work we do here. And the Schnader guys have generated some litigation. They’re comfortable with Phil handling the work, so we think this is going to work out great for us.” The discussion with O’Connor got Kircher thinking that a move to Cozen might make sense. “I’m in Pat’s [practice] group here and I have to say that just being around him is something special,” Kircher said. “So I started thinking about things. I’m 50 years old and Schnader is the only place I’ve ever worked. That was part of things. And, of course, there’s the financial side.” Schnader Chairman Ralph Wellington, who joined the Schnader litigation department a few years before Kircher, said that while the firm will miss its longtime partner, the litigation department is still on firm footing. “Cozen had a need for someone of his quality and when a firm is in the market they often look to Schnader because of our litigation strength,” Wellington said. “But it doesn’t impact us in the sense that we still have several frontline trial lawyers.” A fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Kircher handles antitrust, breach of contract, RICO and health care cases — most of which are outside of Pennsylvania. Kircher has twice been cited by The National Law Journal in its annual listing of notable jury verdicts — including a mass tort case in Oregon involving NutriSystem, for which he served as co-national trial counsel with Schnader partner Margaret Woodruff. The Oregon case was part of a series of roughly 20 cases he brought to verdict in different jurisdictions around the country in the early 1990s that alleged that NutriSystem’s weight loss program caused gall bladder disease. The Oregon version has 13 plaintiffs; the company was found not liable. After graduating from Villanova University Law School in 1976, Kircher clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Donald W. VanArtsdalen for two years before joining Schnader, where he has spent the remainder of his legal career.

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