Defense Digest, Vol. 24, No. 1, March 2018

Message from the Executive Committee

By Howard P. Dwoskin, Esq., Member of the Executive Committee

On December 31, 2017, Tom Brophy stepped down as President and CEO of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin after a very successful 13-year run. Mark Thompson assumed the reins as the new President and CEO, and Chris Dougherty is continuing as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. I am honored to be the third and newest member of that committee.

So, a little bit about me. I was born and raised in New York (Long Island to be exact) and came to Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, I met my wife, Linda, a native Philadelphian, and while I always envisioned returning to New York, we decided to start our life in Philadelphia. Thus, after college graduation and two years working in finance at the General Electric Company, I enrolled at Villanova University School of Law. It wasn’t long after law school that I joined Marshall Dennehey. The year was 1987, and I have been at the firm ever since.

In 1987, Marshall Dennehey was a different place. There were no computers, no email, no caller ID and no smart devices. There were less than 50 lawyers at the firm, and everybody reported to Bob Coleman. However, even as we have grown and evolved, the culture of teamwork, camaraderie and caring—the hallmark of this firm—has not changed in the 30-plus years that I have been a lawyer at Marshall Dennehey.

Throughout the years, I have had the good fortune of being mentored by three incredible lawyers: John Walter, Pete Miller and Tom Brophy. A former Dean of Students at Temple University Law School, John Walter taught me the importance of hard work, devotion to clients, legal scholarship and analysis, and the necessity of paying attention to details. John had an open-door policy, and we met every morning at 8:00 a.m. in his office, where he answered all of my questions and we discussed case handling and strategy. Looking back on this experience, I was afforded daily interaction, schooling and mentoring by one of the preeminent defense litigators in the Philadelphia area. John passed away too early in 1993.

In addition to practicing law for many years handling a wide variety of casualty matters, and after three years as Chair of the firm’s Hiring Committee in the late 1990s, Pete Miller took me under his wing as an assistant manager for the Casualty Department. This was a developing position, but it gave me a great opportunity to work closely with Pete, a man of integrity, hard work and true love of everything Marshall Dennehey. Pete had a passion for early-morning greasy-spoon breakfasts, and the time we spent over runny eggs and weak coffee was priceless for my education in management, marketing and leadership.

However, my professional life truly changed in April 2000 when Tom Brophy moved from our Norristown, Pennsylvania office to Philadelphia to take over as Director of the Casualty Department. Tom inherited me as his assistant director in running the department, and for the next 17 years, Tom and I worked closely in managing, developing and growing the casualty team.

Looking back, it is incredible to believe that Tom and I worked together for 17 years, and it would, indeed, be impossible to list all of the knowledge and experience I have gained from being his “right-hand man” for all that time. Tom instilled in me the importance of fairness, sincerity, detailedness, preparedness and an overall methodology of taking a slow, measured approach to decision making. Like John and Pete, Tom’s door was always open, which, again, afforded me the opportunity to learn, grow and develop into a leader. In 2015, Tom handed off the directorship of the Casualty Department to me. I also have the great fortune to work with Matthew Schorr, who is the Assistant Director of the Department, and we work closely together on a daily basis.

On a more personal note, throughout all of these years, Linda (a very accomplished employment lawyer at Dechert) and I have raised two girls, both of whom obtained college degrees in theater (one of whom also has a Masters in musical theater lyrical writing) and are beginning successful careers in theater. I also joined our in-house rock band, Class Action and the Marshall Dennehey Horns, as the alto sax player. We perform for many charity and Bar-related functions. We even made the finals of the Fortune Magazine Battle of the Corporate Bands and competed on stage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland!

So, after 31 years at the firm, I am proud to join Mark Thompson and Chris Dougherty as the newest member of the Executive Committee. My good fortune of having been mentored by John Walter, Pete Miller, Tom Brophy and many others at the firm has prepared me for this new position. I will serve the members of our firm, our clients, the Bench, the Bar and the community with dedication, devotion and hard work. I very much look forward to assisting in the operations and management of this great law firm.

Moreover, I bring with me into this position all that I have learned from John, Pete and Tom, including their willingness to mentor, advise and teach. Like them, I, too, have an open-door policy, and I look forward to providing this same mentorship to others, perhaps even over runny eggs and weak coffee.

*Howard works in our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania office. He can be reached at 215.575.2664 or


Defense Digest, Vol. 24, No. 1, March 2018. Defense Digest is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING pursuant to New York RPC 7.1. © 2018 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm. For reprints, contact