John was chosen as the 2017 Philadelphia ERISA Litigation Lawyer of the Year by The Best Lawyers in America. His ERISA litigation experience includes representing plaintiffs and defendants in breach of fiduciary duty, prohibited transaction, ESOP, and other ERISA-related disputes.

Working with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, John recently successfully secured the release of pro bono client Marshall Hale, who served more than 33 years for a crime he did not commit.

Learn more about Commw. v. Marshall Hale

John prevailed on behalf of his clients before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in a heavily watched tax challenge under the Uniformity Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The case was the first of its kind before the Court and could have far-reaching consequences.

Learn more about the case

John Summers, a founding partner of the firm in 1994, is an accomplished complex commercial litigator with more than 30 years of experience representing clients in the financial services, technology, life science, real estate, and manufacturing sectors.

Chair of the firm’s litigation department, John is nationally recognized in handling difficult cases involving complicated financial disputes as well as legal ethics issues. John litigates a wide range of matters, including ERISA, class actions, complex contract, and partnership and non-compete disputes, and is valued by clients for his sophisticated and hands-on style.

John is a leader in the legal community. He has served since 2009 as East Coast Solicitor to the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, where he counsels judges of the Court of Common Pleas on ethics matters raised by the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct board. He is also active in legal ethics issues, having served as a member and then chair of a Hearing Board of Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, a former Chair of the Professional Responsibility Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association, and former member of the Association’s Professional Guidance Committee. In addition to having served for many years as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania law School, John is a member of the American Law Institute and serves as Legal Counsel to Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller.

He is also deeply involved with his community and has served since 2010 as Board Chair of Reinvestment Fund (RF), a nationally recognized development finance corporation that puts capital and private initiative to work for the public good. RF has more than $800 million in capital under management and has made $1.8B in total investments to date. John also serves on the Boards of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), and Pilot Legis.

His client commitment has earned him admiration and recognition including being named Philadelphia ERISA Litigation Lawyer of the Year (2017) by The Best Lawyers in America, as well as a Best Lawyer in America in Commercial Litigation by The Best Lawyers in America and a Leader in Litigation by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. He has also been repeatedly named one of Pennsylvania’s top attorneys in Business Litigation by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers magazine and a Local Litigation Star by Benchmark: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys.

Within the firm he is a mentor for associates, frequently partnering with them to write articles and thought pieces, as well as providing guidance throughout their learning process.

John also directs the firm’s Supreme Court Project, a research project that employs econometric techniques to analyze and predict United States Supreme Court decisions.

He is a 1984 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School where he served as an Editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. He received his B.A., magna cum laude, with High Honors in Economics, from Wesleyan University in 1980. From 1984 to 1986 he served as law clerk to the Honorable Thomas N. O’Neill, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Honors & Awards

Named as Leader in Litigation by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyer’s for Business, 2006 – Present

Named to The Best Lawyers in America in Commercial Litigation as a result of a peer review survey by attorneys in the United States, 2008 – Present

Named the 2017 Philadelphia ERISA Litigation Lawyer of the Year by The Best Lawyers in America

Named a Local Litigation Star by Benchmark: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys, 2009 – 2016

Named by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers magazine as one of Pennsylvania’s top attorneys in Business Litigation (2004 – 2017) as the result of a statewide survey of lawyers

University of Pennsylvania Law School Mark G. Lefevre Prize for Law and Economics, 1984

University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Editor

Award Methodologies

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Teaching, Lecturing & News

“Marshall Hale’s Long Road to Freedom: Ten Insights Into the Causes of Wrongful Convictions,” BNA United States Law Week, August 3, 2017 (with Maureen Lawrence and Dina Grove)

Lecturer on a variety of topics, including presentations on professional responsibility, legal ethics, and trial practice

 

“An Econometric Investigation of the Determinants of US Supreme Court Decisions,Tennessee Law Review, Volume 83.4, December 2016 (with Michael J. Newman and Michael Cliff, PhD)

“Pennsylvania Needs A Law to Compensate the Wrongfully Convicted,” Editorial, PennLive.com, September 27, 2016 (with Dina L. Grove and Elise Singer)

“Judges and Online Social Networking,” BNA’s United States Law Week, May 21, 2013 (with Maureen P. Smith)

“Promotional Enforcement: A Potential Current Inflection Point,The Pharmaceutical Compliance Monitor, February 6, 2013 (with Dylan J. Steinberg)

“The Court of Judicial Discipline: A Review of the First Twenty Years,” Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly, January 2013 (with Rebecca S. Melley)

“Caronia: A Serious First Amendment Rebuke to Federal Off-Label Marketing Prosecutions,” The Legal Intelligencer, January 13, 2013 (with Dylan J. Steinberg)

“The ‘Full’ Method of Measuring the Court’s Review of Decisions by the Courts of Appeals,” SCOTUSblog, October 23, 2012 (with Michael J. Newman)

“First Circuit Reversal Rate Not What It Seemed,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, January 30, 2012 (with Michael J. Newman)

“The Third Circuit’s Reversal Rate: A Success Story,” The Legal Intelligencer, November 10, 2011 (with Michael J. Newman)

“Towards a Better Measure and Understanding of US Supreme Court Review of Courts of Appeals Decisions,” BNA’s The United States Law Week, September 27, 2011 (with Michael J. Newman)

“Justices Weigh In on Pharma Marketing, Corporate Speech, Data Privacy,” The Legal Intelligencer, August 8, 2011 (with Dylan J. Steinberg)

“‘Matrixx,’ Materiality, and Statistical Significance,” The Legal Intelligencer, April 28, 2011 (with Michael J. Newman)

“Imagine the Plausibilities: Life After Twombly and Iqbal,” Litigation, Winter 2011

Lecturer-in-Law, University of Pennsylvania, 2003 – 2010

“Supreme Court Revisits and Reaffirms Twombly in Ashcroft v. Iqbal,” The Legal Intelligencer, June 1, 2009

“Rule 502’s Attempt to Clarify Scope of Attorney-Client Privilege Waivers,” The Legal Intelligencer, January 1, 2009

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Memberships & Community

Reinvestment Fund, 2000 – Present
Chair, Board of Directors
Member, Executive Committee

Pennsylvania Innocence Project, Board Member, 2011 – Present

Pilot Legis, Board of Directors, 2010 – Present

Public Citizens for Children & Youth (PCCY), Board Member, 2017

Eastern Pennsylvania Solicitor to the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, 2009 – Present

American Law Institute, Member, 2005 – Present
Member, Consultative Group for Principles of Aggregate Litigation
Consultative Group for Principles of Government Ethics

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Disciplinary Board
Member and Chair, Hearing Board, 1999 – 2004
Attorney Conservator, 1995

Philadelphia Bar Association
Board of Governors , 1998 – 2000
Nominating Committee, 1995
Co-Chair, Professional Responsibility Committee, 1992
Special Committee to Investigate District Attorneys
Review of Judge Frederica Massiah-Jackson, 1992
Professional Guidance Committee

Philadelphia Bar Education Center
President, 1996 – 1997
Vice President, 1995

Philadelphia Bar Foundation
Treasurer, 2006
Secretary, 2005
Member, Hamilton Circle
Trustee, Chair, Grants Committee, 2002 – 2004

 

Neighborhood Club of Bala Cynwyd, Secretary, 1998 – 2000

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