Welcome to our 11th annual Lawyers on the Fast Track supplement! Each year in this space, we at The Legal Intelligencer recognize the outstanding young attorneys across the state. We spotlight those who not only excel as lawyers, but also serve as exemplary members of their communities and their profession.

The attorneys profiled in these pages are an especially deserving group. They represent all corners of the Pennsylvania legal community — geographically and professionally. They work in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Philadelphia and everywhere in between. They come from diverse backgrounds and work for a diverse group of employers. What they all have in common is a track record of excellence and contributions to the legal community.

So how did we choose the 35 attorneys that make up this class of Lawyers on the Fast Track?

We solicited nominations from law firms of all sizes, public interest groups, bar associations and The Legal’s audience, spanning the entire state, for attorneys they felt were among the very best and brightest in Pennsylvania. We requested that a nomination form be completed for each deserving attorney, detailing specifically what made the individual stand out. We asked the nominating parties to focus on four specific areas in answering questions on the form: development of the law, advocacy, community contributions and service to the bar.

In our search for the best Pennsylvania attorneys under the age of 40, we received an overwhelming response. More than 100 submissions poured in. Many of the nominations came with glowing letters of recommendation from colleagues and clients.

We passed those nominations on to an objective judging panel of seven members of the legal community. This year’s panel includes the executive director of a nonprofit, legal recruiters, a law school dean, an in-house counsel, an attorney in the Governor’s Office of General Counsel and a common pleas judge. Two of the panel members are former Fast Track honorees.

The judging panel evaluated each nominee, carefully grading the candidates in each of the above-mentioned areas. The nominees with the highest composite scores are the 35 members of this year’s class of Lawyers on the Fast Track.

This year’s class represents all varieties of firms and practice areas. The members of this year’s class have all taken different paths to get where they are, but all have contributed greatly to the legal community through their advancement of the law, pro bono work and bar association contributions.

Reviewing previous years’ supplements in preparing for this year’s Lawyers on the Fast Track, I was struck by how many of the previous winners are household names in the Pennsylvania legal community. The previous honorees are leaders in their firms and the community. They are judges, like Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Dan Anders (‘05), who was a member of this year’s panel. They are the attorneys helping to shape the future of the legal community with the work they are doing in the present.

I couldn’t help but notice while reviewing the recent honorees how many of them contribute regularly not just to the legal community, but to The Legal’s community, as authors of regular practice columns on topics such as appellate law (Howard Bashman, ‘03) and general counsel (Hayes Hunt, ‘07). Furthermore, The Legal’s Young Lawyer Editorial Board, a critical part of our relationship with the legal community, includes many former Fast Track winners.

As this was my first year working on the supplement, I learned a great deal about how important young attorneys truly are to the Pennsylvania legal community, and how much their peers appreciate their work. I’m looking forward to getting a chance to meet these extraordinary attorneys at our annual awards dinner and see their peers congratulating them.

I’d like to personally thank each and every one of you who took the time to nominate your peers, colleagues and friends. The results of your efforts are on display in these pages. Without your nominations, we wouldn’t be able to select such a diverse and impressive group of attorneys.

I would also like to extend special thanks to the members of this year’s judging panel, who generously volunteered time this summer to read through thousands of pages of nomination forms and letters of recommendation. Your insightful, attentive work is greatly appreciated!

And, of course, the entire staff of The Legal Intelligencer offers our congratulations to the attorneys recognized this year. This is only the beginning for these attorneys, and we look forward to following their progress on the way to the top of the legal profession. Congratulations! 

Ben Seal
Magazines and Supplements Editor