A Tenacious Trial & Appellate Lawyer

John uses his deep experience representing financial, real estate, and government sector clients for pro bono clients as well, in matters ranging from obtaining marriage rights for same-sex couples in the landmark decision of Whitewood v. Wolf to helping abused and neglected children.

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Honored & Recognized

The Philadelphia Business Journal named John to its “40 Under 40” list in 2017. He also was named a “Lawyer on the Fast Track” by The Legal Intelligencer, among several other honors and awards.

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Speaker & Author

John is co-author of five chapters concerning all aspects of discovery and motions for summary judgment in Lexis-Nexis' Pennsylvania Civil Pre-Trial Practice Guide, and frequently presents on substantive legal issues and litigation tactics.

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John S. Stapleton, a trial and appellate lawyer, focuses his practice on complex commercial disputes and frequently handles high profile and high stakes matters. John takes pride in the diversity of his clients’ businesses and the variety and depth of his experiences.

His clients include financial institutions, real estate companies, retailers, government agencies, and other businesses and individuals. John regularly litigates issues concerning intellectual property rights, especially copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets, tax, restrictive covenants, licensing and other business contracts, partnership disputes, fraud, real estate, RICO, ERISA, government regulations, class actions, and business torts. He practices in the firm’s Philadelphia and New Jersey offices.

Several publications and organizations have honored John. The Philadelphia Business Journal named John to its “40 Under 40” list, Billy Penn named him one of 16 of Philadelphia’s “next great stars in law” in its “Who’s Next Law” list, and The Legal Intelligencer named him a “Lawyer on the Fast Track.” Pennsylvania Super Lawyers magazine has named him a “Rising Star” every year since 2012.

In 2011, he argued before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court during its first-ever televised proceedings. An engaging speaker, John frequently presents at legal and community associations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey regarding substantive legal issues and litigation tactics.

John’s pro bono work is as deep as his commercial litigation experiences. In 2014, he served as one of the lead attorneys for the firm in Whitewood v. Wolf, obtaining the landmark ruling striking down Pennsylvania’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. In 2017, the Support Center for Child Advocates named John a “Distinguished Advocate,” for his work representing abused and neglected children since 2006. Among several other pro bono representations, John also successfully obtained asylum for a Colombian national before the Board of Immigration Appeals. The First Judicial District of Pennsylvania has named John to its Pro Bono Honor Roll every year since 2006.

Prior to joining Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, John practiced in the litigation department of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York.

John is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.

Memberships & Community

ACLU of Pennsylvania, Legal Advisory Committee, 2014 – Present

Southern New Jersey Advisory Board to Devereux – New Jersey, Chair, 2011 – 2017

Leadership, Inc., Philadelphia Class of 2011

University of Pennsylvania American Inn of Court, Past Member

Honors & Awards

Named one of BillyPenn.com’s “Who’s Next – Law” honorees, 2017

Named one of the Philadelphia Business Journals “40 Under 40,” 2017

Named a “Distinguished Advocate” by the Support Center for Child Advocates, 2017

Named a “Lawyer on the Fast Track” by The Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly, 2014

Named by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers magazine as a Rising Star as the result of a statewide survey of lawyers, 2012 – 2017

First Judicial District of Pennsylvania Pro Bono Roll of Honor, 2006 – present

University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Research Editor

University of Pennsylvania Law School, Arthur Littleton and H. Clayton Louderback Legal Writing Instructor

Award Methodologies

Teaching & Lecturing

Co-lecturer, “Deposition Boot Camp,” University of Pennsylvania Law School, January 2016

Facilitator and Faculty Presenter, “The Art of the Deposition: Taking, Defending and Preparing for Depositions,” Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 4-5, 2015

Faculty Presenter, “Same Sex Marriage Ruling and Workplace Policies,” Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs’ 2015 Annual Pennsylvania Municipal Legal Update, Hershey, Pennsylvania, August 26-27, 2015

Faculty Presenter, “Pennsylvania Marriage Equality: A New Dawn,” Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 23, 2014


Chapter Author, Pennsylvania Civil Pre-Trial Practice and Pennsylvania Civil Trial Practice, Lexis-Nexis, January 2017 (edited by the Honorable Daniel J. Anders and Bobby Ochoa, III)

SCOTUS Ruling Shows Limits of Securities Exchange Act’s Exclusive Jurisdiction Clause: A look at the implications of Merrill Lynch v. Manning,” New Jersey Law Journal, May 20, 2016

“U.S. Supreme Court’s Splintered Decision on State Voter ID Law: More Questions Than Answers,” The Legal Intelligencer & Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Litigation Supplement), July 14, 2008 (with Daniel Segal)

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