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Montgomery McCracken Remembers Friend and Former Chairman Ralph W. Brenner

May 8, 2015


Ralph W. Brenner, chairman of the firm from 1988 to 1992, died peacefully May 5 surrounded by his family. Those who knew and worked with Ralph remember him as one of the firm’s greatest leaders and cheerleaders. Ralph cared passionately about the firm and its people and is remembered as a remarkable person, friend, attorney and family man. He was also a consummate “people person,” whose smile and laughter were well-known throughout the firm, and who always had an encouraging word for everyone he met.Ralph’s office when he joined the firm in the early 1950s was adjacent to that of firm founder and former Supreme Court Justice Owen J. Roberts, and part of Ralph’s early job was to see to Justice Roberts’ needs. Known as one of the finest trial lawyers of his day, Ralph practiced in the areas of antitrust, securities law, environmental law and complex class action litigation. He was said to have been a “rainmaker” before that term existed.¬†Prior to joining the firm, he received a B.A. from Pennsylvania State University and an LL.B. from Temple University School of Law.

Among his many civic involvements, Ralph served as longtime chairman of the board of trustees of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, and oversaw the construction of the hospital’s new facilities on Erie Avenue. ¬†Ralph also served as trustee and president of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, judge pro tem of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, chairman of the Large Firm Management Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association, a fellow of the International Society of Barristers, and as a member of the Federal Arbitration Panel for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the board of regents of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the board of directors of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. Ralph was also a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel, the Defense Research Institute and the American Arbitration Association. Additionally, he was honored by St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children with an endowed chair in pediatrics in his name, and he was a recipient of the Pennsylvania State University Alumni Fellow Award.

Services will be held Saturday, May 16, at 11 a.m. at the chapel at The Episcopal Academy, located at 1785 Bishop White Drive, Newtown Square, PA 19073. Friends may visit the chapel at 10 a.m. to see the family before the service. Ralph’s family has asked that people consider making a donation in Ralph’s name to St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children (http://www.scfchildren.org/).