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The domino effect from David L. Cohen’s pending departure from Philadelphia’s Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll continued Thursday, as the firm announced that former city solicitor and federal prosecutor Charisse Lillie has been named the new litigation department chairwoman. She succeeds Arthur Makadon, who has led the now 125-attorney department since 1984. Makadon will become Ballard Spahr’s new firm chairman when Cohen leaves July 1 to begin his new position as executive vice president of Comcast Corp. Lillie handles labor and employment and public finance work, with a concentration in the defense of discrimination actions. She serves as deputy chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, the ABA commission on minorities in the profession and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s commission on racial and gender bias in the justice system. “I thought David Cohen would be here for the rest of his career and the rest of my career, so I never really thought about [becoming litigation chair],” Lillie said. “But it’s an honor. They didn’t have to drag me kicking and screaming in to this. And I did run the law department, so I have some management skills coming into it.” Lillie said she does not think she will have to scale back her practice to handle her new role. With her tenures on the Federal Reserve Bank and the ABA commission coming to an end this year, her extracurricular activities will decrease to the point where Lillie said she can balance her time between practicing and running the department. Makadon said Lillie was selected by the firm’s nine-member board of directors, on which both he and Lillie serve. Lillie, though, was not present when the board considered her candidacy. “When Charisse joined us 10 years ago, she had never worked the private sector,” Makadon said. “And what she has done is simply amazing. She’s built up a practice from scratch and gained the respect of her colleagues at the firm and her peers at other firms. She was an obvious choice because of who she is and her sense of business development. We liked the idea of having someone who has a public profile.” Lillie joined Ballard Spahr in 1992 from her position as city solicitor of Philadelphia. A 1976 graduate of Temple University law school, Lillie started her career with a two-year clerkship with U.S. District Judge Clifford Scott Green before working for the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division. Lillie then spent two years as deputy director of Community Legal Services and three years teaching at Villanova University law school. In 1985, Lillie began a three-year stint as U.S. Attorney, during which she was appointed by Mayor W. Wilson Goode to serve on the MOVE Commission that investigated the Osage Avenue tragedy. Lillie became general counsel of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority in 1988 and city solicitor in 1990. During Makadon’s 18-year tenure as chairman, the department has grown from a relatively obscure group of 25 lawyers to a large practice with more than 125 lawyers practicing in six cities. While Ballard Spahr’s litigation practice is concentrated in Philadelphia, the firm has expanded its practice in its five other offices. In addition to grooming young associates, Makadon has largely built the department through adding high-profile lateral hires such as: Alan J. Davis, former Philadelphia city solicitor and former head of Wolf Block Schorr & Solis-Cohen’s litigation department; David H. Pittinsky, former head of Dilworth Paxson’s litigation department; Steven A. Arbittier, another former Wolf Block litigation chairman; and white-collar criminal defense lawyer Donald J. Goldberg. More recently, the firm added Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld trademark practice chairwoman Roberta Jacobs-Meadway and virtually the entire labor and employment department from Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads, which includes partners Thomas H. Felix II and Kenneth M. Jarin. Lillie said the recent additions should pay dividends long into her tenure. She plans to adopt Makadon’s approach to hiring small groups of laterals rather than large groups or merger candidates. “The trademark group was a great addition and we just hired [Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin partner] John Lavelle, who brings a product liability capability,” Lillie said. “I think I want to just stay the course, with measured, calculated growth.”

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