Get to know Montgomery McCracken even better!

We have anticipated some of your questions and have put together a list of Q&As ranging from employment criteria to working environment: the offices, the people, the hours, the cities, the Summer Associate and other training programs, salaries and benefits, becoming a Partner…, and everything in between.

What is Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP?

Headquartered in Center City Philadelphia on the Avenue of the Arts, Montgomery McCracken is a multi-disciplinary law firm with approximately 130 litigation and business lawyers engaged in providing legal services to a wide range of clients, including individuals, start-up companies, and major international corporations.  Our lawyers are supported by paralegals, secretaries, accounting clerks, librarians, and other administrative and clerical personnel. The firm has offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York.

Montgomery McCracken began in 1912 as Roberts, Montgomery & McKeehan, a firm of six lawyers. Owen J. Roberts, the “Roberts” of the original firm, was the Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski of his day, successfully prosecuting Harding Administration officials in the Teapot Dome scandal. He later served as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1930 to 1945, serving with Justices Holmes, Brandeis, Cardozo, Frankfurter and Douglas, among others. He is the only Philadelphia lawyer to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. While Justice Roberts was on the Supreme Court, his old firm in Philadelphia continued to grow. Justice Roberts returned to the firm as “of counsel” when he resigned from the Supreme Court in 1945.

Our firm has had offices in Philadelphia for over 90 years and in New Jersey for over 25 years. Our office in downtown Wilmington, DE was established in February 2002 and our office in Berwyn, PA in Fall 2003. Our New York office was established in September 2011.

What type of practice do you have?

Our clients range from Fortune 500 companies to the couple in the next apartment who are buying their first home. They can be as well known as the City of Philadelphia itself or completely unknown. We firmly believe that each client, regardless of size, is entitled to the best service we can provide.

Our attorneys work in three major departments:
Our largest department is Litigation, whose cases involve product liability; securities; antitrust; professional malpractice defense; computer and intellectual property; insurance coverage; First Amendment and media law; complex commercial issues and environmental law; among others.

Our second largest department is Business, which includes corporate; tax; employee benefits; real estate; bankruptcy; health, education and nonprofit law; intellectual property; technology law and E-commerce; and trusts and estates. The Firm works with companies in various stages of development, from start-up ventures to major corporations. For new businesses, the Firm provides counsel on basic matters such as choice of entity, formation, financing, contracts, and the applicability of various laws to business activities.

Our third largest department is Labor and Employment, in which we represent over 300 public sector and private sector employers throughout the state, the region, and the nation. Our attorneys have extensive experience providing counsel in employment discrimination litigation, collective bargaining, arbitrations, union organizing campaigns, wage and hour, OSHA, hiring/firing/disciplining, sexual harassment, Family and Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, EEOC guidelines, non-compete agreements, workers’ compensation, and National Labor Relations Board and Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board litigation.

Within these three areas, our practice involves numerous and varied subspecialties. If you have a particular field of interest, please ask us about that area of our practice when we speak with you.

What are your offices like?

In May 1996, we relocated our Philadelphia office to the 30-floor Wells Fargo (formerly Fidelity, then First Union, then Wachovia) Building, located at 123 South Broad Street (Broad and Sansom Streets), in the heart of the “Avenue of the Arts”, as Broad Street is also known. Other than Wells Fargo, which occupies most of the building, our firm is the largest single tenant, with exclusive space in the top seven floors. The exterior of building, built in 1927, then the ninth largest building in the modern world, has historical significance and won many national awards at the time of its construction, including national honors as Building of the Year.

Prior to our move to the Wells Fargo Building, we gutted virtually all of our floors, with the result that everything in the interior of our new space is either new or extensively renovated. The offices are sun-drenched and the decor is tastefully and comfortably elegant. The grand space on the 29th floor is known as the Justice Roberts Room, named for one of the firm’s founding fathers, and was formerly occupied by the Midday Club. It is two stories high, with floor-to-ceiling windows providing views of the Delaware River to the east and the Schuylkill River to the west and an unobstructed cityscape on both sides. The room is complete with massive drapes, crystal chandeliers, and a broad and flexible expanse of comfortable gathering space.

Our Philadelphia office has received several prestigious architectural awards including: national First Place in the 1997 ABA Journal Law Firm Design Competition in the category of Historic Preservation; regional First Place in the 1996 Building Excellence competition sponsored by Commerce Bank and the Philadelphia Business Journal in the category of Urban Commercial Design; and a Preservation Award from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia in its 1997 annual competition; and the 1998 Excellence in Craftsmanship Award sponsored by the General Building Contractors Association Inc.

Our Cherry Hill, New Jersey office is located in a bright, tastefully modern space in LibertyView, a low-rise office building.  The main conference room of that office provides a panoramic westward view with the entire Philadelphia skyline, including the Wells Fargo Building, in the distance.  Our Linwood, New Jersey is located at the Jersey Shore.

Our Wilmington, Berwyn, and New York offices offer a spacious work area in a modern office complex.

What about Philadelphia—do they roll up the sidewalks after working hours?


You know Philadelphia as the city of William Penn, Benjamin Franklin, the Liberty Bell, and Thomas Jefferson’s writing of the Declaration of Independence. It has been rightly known for years as “America’s Birthplace”, featuring “America’s Most Historic Square Mile” in the neighborhoods surrounding Independence Hall. But did you know that Philadelphia, one of the nation’s oldest cities and the second largest on the east coast, is also the nation’s youngest city? The median age of the population is only 33.9 years, with fully 40% of the population between 25 and 54 years of age. It has the third largest center-city behind New York City and Chicago.

You know Philadelphia as the home of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Philadelphia Art Museum, the Philadelphia Opera Company, the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (the nation’s oldest), the Eagles, Flyers, Sixers and Phillies. But did you know that the 8,900 acre Fairmount Park is the largest landscaped city park in the country — that the 1,700 animal Philadelphia Zoo is the nation’s oldest, and that the new Pennsylvania Convention Center is the second largest in the Northeast?

Recent years have seen a virtual explosion of new entertainment, cultural, dining and shopping opportunities in Center City, matching the commercial high-rise and residential resurgence. These changes permeate the Penn’s Landing, Old City, Head House, South Street, Rittenhouse Row (Walnut Street from Broad Street to Rittenhouse Square), and Avenue of the Arts (Broad Street) sections in the heart of Center City. All of these areas are within walking distance of our Philadelphia office.
The kudos for Philadelphia’s recent renaissance are many: “The friendliest city in America” (Condé Nast); “City of Neighborhoods”; “America’s Most Honest City”; “Safest of the Nation’s 12 Largest Cities”; “America’s Best Restaurant City” (Condé Nast); and home to one of Esquire’s “Hottest New Restaurants in America” for three straight years.

In short, both Philadelphia and its Pennsylvania and New Jersey suburbs represent one of the most lively, sophisticated, fun and livable places anywhere.

Of course, everyone likes to get away once in a while. By Metroliner, New York is only an hour and a half away and Washington, D.C. about two hours. The Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania to the northwest and the Atlantic shores of New Jersey to the southeast are easily accessible for vacations.

What do you look for in the people you hire?

Primarily we look for intelligence (in part as reflected in scholastic achievement), motivation, sense of humor, and the ability to work with others. We look for people with a sense of integrity about their work and who, we believe, can be self-starters. We offer equal opportunity without regard to race, gender, color, religion, ancestry, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability or handicap, marital, parental or veteran status, or any other legally protected status.

What about your new associates; what do you do with them?

New associates are initially assigned to one of our practice groups in accordance with their interests and our firm’s needs. The breadth or specialization of an associate’s work varies greatly depending on the associate’s inclination. All associates work directly with clients. As soon as their abilities permit, associates assume full responsibility for handling clients’ affairs.

We make certain that our new associates receive training in the practical aspects of their department’s work. Our Training Committee, in conjunction with each department, is responsible for administering an on-going training program for new associates.

Each year we ask each of our partners to comment in writing on the work of each associate with whom the partner is familiar. We then discuss both positive and negative comments with each associate. The goal of this annual evaluation process is to make sure our associates know when they are meeting (or exceeding) our expectations, to let them know what might be done to overcome any shortcomings, and to discuss their future prospects with the firm. It also gives our associates a chance to ask questions of us and to get anything that is bothersome off their chests.

Our Human Resource Committee meets regularly with groups of associates to discuss issues of importance and concern and to solicit suggestions for improvement.

Will I ever see (i) my husband, (ii) my wife, (iii) my girlfriend, (iv) my boyfriend, or (v) any of the above, again after I start?

Yes — unless, of course, you don’t want to. Seriously, we expect our associates to work very hard and to assume increasing responsibilities, but we would worry about someone who spent every night and weekend at the office. When work has to be done, we expect you to be there, without coaxing, to do it. The practice of law is an extremely time-consuming profession, but you don’t have to be in the office after hours just because you believe someone expects it or would be impressed. So hang on to your spouse or significant other.  You will work hard, but if you ever get to the point where you have too little personal life, we’d want to know about it. It means that something is wrong, and we’d like to help you fix it.

Will I have a chance to do some 'pro bono' work and pursue other professional interests?

Yes, if you have pro bono work you would like to do, all we ask is that you let us know what you are doing and make sure it does not unduly interfere with your office work.

Our attorneys handle a significant level of “pro bono” work on a continuing basis.

Currently, several of us are engaged in public interest litigation, including the representation of indigent criminal defendants in state and federal court; one of us was an incorporator and others served as board members of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia; two are members of our local school boards; a number of us have been active in politics; several of us serve on the boards of local hospitals; one of us was co-chairperson of the Citizens’ Council on Charter Revision (Philadelphia); over the years, five partners have served as Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association; two have served as President of its Young Lawyers Section; one is currently the Chair of its Board of Governors; and many others are active in American, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia Bar Association committees; one of us is the Austrian Consul; two were members of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania Law School; one is a member of the Board of Directors for the Support Center for Child Advocates; one is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Free Library of Philadelphia; one is a member of the Board of Trustees of the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania; one is a member of the Executive Committee of the Schuylkill River Development Council. One of our partners chairs the Mayor’s Task Force on the Philadelphia Orchestra. One former partner was president of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and of the Academy of Music. Another former partner was the National President of the Hispanic National Bar Association, General Counsel to the Department of the United States Air Force and, most recently, Chairman of the EEOC.

In addition, the firm currently sponsors one twelve-month Public Interest Fellowship under a new program of the Public Interest Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

What are the lawyers at your firm like as people? What do they do in their spare time?

Lawyers at Montgomery McCracken don’t fit any mold. And we like it that way. Our personalities and out-of-office lifestyles cover a wide range. There are bookworms and people who like to party into the night; country-dwellers and people who get hives if they are not surrounded by pavement; golfers, sailors, runners, and squash players, tennis-players; hikers, kayakers, rowers, and mountain-climbers; gardeners, fishermen, horsemen and horsewomen; and talented amateur musicians, singers and actors. One of us founded a Shakespearean repertory company. There are passionate competitors in the attorneys’ basketball league and the softball league — and people who don’t know a basketball from a soccer ball. Some of us are married and some of us aren’t; many, but not all of us, have children.

How big (or small) is that little cubbyhole I will work in?

You are very lucky in that regard. In our Philadelphia office, all attorney offices are ample and are on the perimeter of the building with one or more windows, so that no matter which way you look, you will have an interesting view of the city.

Our New Jersey office at LibertyView has continuous windows, which afford a pleasant view.  Our Linwood, NJ; Berwyn, PA; Wilmington, DE; and New York, NY offices offer modern, spacious area.

How about partnership? How long do I have to wait?

We have always hired with the idea that everyone who comes with us would some day become a partner. We still hire with this in mind, but we are a little more realistic now. We know we will make some mistakes, and we know some of our associates will too. Also, associates (or their spouses) sometimes change their career plans. So we make no promises other than that we will always try to let you know where you stand. If you do well, there is really no set time period before you can become a partner — although it generally requires at least eight years beyond law school. On the other hand, if things do not seem to be working out, we will let you know as soon as we come to a definite decision. This is only fair to both of us.

This is all well and good, but right now I am only looking for a summer job. What about your summer progam?

Depending on need, we may hire law students who, we believe, can, under a lawyer’s supervision, ably and efficiently assist us in handling our clients’ affairs.

What do your summer associates do?

We immerse our summer associates in the various aspects of our practice. Each summer associate works with a number of lawyers — both partners and associates. We try to make certain that our summer associates get a balanced and interesting share of the work to be done and that they are given feedback on their work product. We also arrange for the summer associates to attend depositions, trials, labor arbitrations, meetings with clients, corporate closings, and real estate settlements with our lawyers, so that they get a look at the non-office part of practicing law.

What about the Bar Exam?

The Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar Exams are given in February and July of each year. A “cram” course is offered before each examination. You can be admitted to the bar as soon as you pass the examination and comply with the registration requirements.

What if I have more questions?

We are sure that you will have more questions that we haven’t touched on here. If we do not interview at your school, we would welcome hearing from you; please send your resume and transcript to the attention of Christine Cunningham, our Executive Director.

Cordially, Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP