J. Bruce McKissock

Chair, Aviation and Complex Litigation Practice Group
Senior Counsel

Bruce brings more than 30 years of experience and success in the handling of complex litigation matters ranging from air crashes, product failures, business disputes, and interpretations of contracts and insurance policies.

Where millions of dollars have been at stake, clients from around the country have sought out Bruce and the team of attorneys working with him to analyze the matter in dispute; oversee the pre-trial investigation to assure that all pertinent facts are ferreted out; put together the team of experts who will assist in presenting the matter to the jury; and, thereafter, conduct the orchestrated presentation of the case to the court and jury before whom the matter is to be tried. 

Not only has Bruce been called upon to handle complex matters of the type set forth throughout Pennsylvania, but also in New Jersey, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Kansas and Texas, in which jurisdictions he has appeared pro hac vice.

Bruce's determination, competitive skills, and will to succeed on behalf of his clients is best exemplified beginning with his high school days where he was All-State in two sports (football and lacrosse) and an Eagle Scout, to his selection as a First Team All American Lacrosse at Dartmouth College. A year after graduating from Villanova Law School, and while working as an assistant district attorney in the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, Bruce was arguing cases in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and assigned to the homicide unit. Over the next two-and-one-half years, Bruce tried more than a dozen jury trial first-degree murder cases with a 95 percent success rate.

After joining Duane Morris & Hecksher in 1973, and being elected as a partner in just three years, Bruce successfully built and headed-up that firm's Aviation and Product Liability Group until 1983. He then went on to form his own boutique litigation firm of McKissock & Hoffman, where he practiced until October 2007, growing this firm to more than 40 attorneys and six offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. 

Bruce has been elected by his colleagues as a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers and since 2005 has been selected as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer. He is a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel, the Lawyer-Pilot's Bar Association, and the Aviation Insurance Association and has served as a Judge pro tempore for the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County.

Bruce's outside activities include: FAA licensed instrument rated pilot and aircraft owner; founder, former president and chairman emeritus of Lookaway Golf Club (which is now ranked as one of the top fifteen golf courses in Pennsylvania); co­chairman of the Central Bucks East High School Stadium Committee; former moderator of Carversville UCC Church; former general counsel of the Citizen's Crime Commission of Philadelphia; member of Pennsylvania Lacrosse Foundation Hall of Fame.

Significant Representative Matters

Represented a group of Texas oilmen in a dispute over participation rights in an oil and gas field in northwestern Pennsylvania. The defendant majority owner claimed that, not only was the investor group’s interest greatly restricted under the investment agreement, but the group was over paid by several hundred thousand dollars. After a one-week trial, the majority owner agreed to pay the Texas group $7.5 million and buy out their claimed 5% interest. This is one of the largest recoveries ever in Erie County.

Representation of a commuter airline in mediation of multiple death claims arising out of crash at Charlotte, North Carolina, airport.

Representation of a propeller manufacturer as sole defendant of multi-death claim after in-flight propeller separation. (Defense verdict.)

Representation of general aviation aircraft manufacturer in multi-death case after airplane crashed due to alleged design deficiencies improper stall characteristics. (Defense verdict.)

Representation of shoe component manufacturer in claim against supplier of hi-tech robotic manufacturing equipment used in the process. Jury awarded the client in excess of $12 million based on breach of contract and misrepresentation.

Representation of the steel manufacturer that created steel ingots through a vacuum arc re-melt process. The engine manufacturer claimed that the crankshafts were defective due to inherent defects in the steel ingots from which the crankshafts were eventually manufactured. Our client was the sole defendant in the case, which was tried in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Commerce Court. After a month-long trial, a defense verdict was rendered for our client. Our defense was based primarily on the suggestion that problems in the forging of the crankshafts (by an entity that had joined as a co-plaintiff with the engine manufacturer) was the actual cause of the failures/defects.

Representation of the forging company that had forged the crankshafts from ingots supplied by various third party steel manufacturers. It was the engine manufacturer's claim that overheating and other improper forging practices caused numerous defects to occur in the crankshafts. In collaboration with co-counsel in Texas, we prosecuted a preemptive claim against the engine manufacturer, claiming that the engine manufacturer was aware of potential defects in the crankshafts when it extended its requirements contract with our client and sought to have the contract rescinded and damages for fraud awarded. After a two-month trial, in which we presented extensive evidence that indicated both inherent defects in the steel supplied by the steel manufacturers and knowledge of this on the part of the engine manufacturer, the Texas jury awarded approximately $90 million in damages to our client and found that forging issues were not the cause of any defect in the crankshafts.

Published Works

"The Other Shoe Drops," Defense Digest, Vol. 24, No. 1, March 2018

"A Game Changer for Personal Jurisdiction," Defense Digest, Vol 22, No. 2, June 2016

Villanova University School of Law (J.D., 1969)
Dartmouth College (A.B., 1966)
Honors & awards
The Best Lawyers in America©, Commercial Litigation; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, 2007-present; Philadelphia Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants "Lawyer of the Year" 2016
Pennsylvania Super Lawyers
Associations & memberships
American College of Trial Lawyers
Aviation Insurance Association
Bucks County Bar Association
Defense Research Institute
International Association of Defense Counsel
Lawyer Pilots Bar Association
Pennsylvania Bar Association
Philadelphia Bar Association
Pilot's Bar Association
Year joined