The Firm’s tradition of pro bono service was begun by the founding partners. As our Firm has grown substantially in recent years, we have welcomed many new lawyers and staff who themselves have understood that a part of our professional duty is to make a difference in working to eradicate injustice and advance the common good. We continue to adhere to this important element of the firm’s culture first established by the founders of the Firm.
Bernard G. Segal (1907-1997) described the “hallmark” of the Firm as its “dedication to the higher calling,” that is, “the lawyer’s obligation to assume an active role in the pursuit of a just and ordered society, in helping to solve the emerging problems of social, economic and political importance to serve the public as his or her client, as she or he would serve a full-paying client.” From the start, the name partners set the example of that dedication to public service. Segal served as Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association from 1952-53, and President of the American Bar Association from 1969-70. Mr. Segal served as a founder and co-chairman of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
William A. Schnader (1886-1968) dedicated nearly twenty years of his life to the organization, drafting, development and promotion of a nationwide system of business law, which earned him the title, “Father of the Uniform Commercial Code,” much of it accomplished while in a wheelchair following a crippling stroke. For this “conspicuous service to American jurisprudence,” he was awarded the Gold Medal of the American Bar Association in 1960. His public service included many other contributions, including five years’ work as chairman of the American Bar Association Bill of Rights Committee (the forerunner of the present Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities), service as Attorney General of Pennsylvania under two successive governors, during which he directed major new codifications of the laws of corporations and banking, and service as president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association in 1962-63.
Earl G. Harrison (1899-1955) is best remembered for his inspection tour of former Nazi concentration camps at the end of World War II and his forthright recommendation to President Truman that the displaced persons who then occupied those camps be permitted to resettle in Palestine if they so chose. Mr. Harrison’s report has been credited by some historians as a crucial step in the development of United States support for the Republic of Israel. He also served as dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and, among other public service posts, as director of the American Civil Liberties Union and of the NAACP.
Francis A. Lewis, III (1889-1944), born to a socially-prominent Philadelphia family, broke new ground when he decided to leave his position as a partner in a well-regarded Philadelphia firm to join with William A. Schnader in creating a new law firm, known as Schnader & Lewis, whose commitment to excellence would embrace public service with as much vigor as it did the more traditional functions of a private law firm. Mr. Lewis’ life was tragically cut short less than ten years later.