In Memoriam: Denis J. Lawler
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Denis J. Lawler

Denis Lawler has spent his entire career trying cases. Most recently, those matters have involved:

  • The defense in arbitration of a supplier who had terminated a long-term supply contract on the grounds of impossibility, resulting in a defense verdict and the award of $1,000,000 in attorneys’ fees under a fee-shifting provision in the contract involved;
  • The defense of a seller of a business against claims of breach of warranties and representations in the sale; the liability phase had been lost by predecessor counsel; in the trial of the damages phase, plaintiff’s $30,000,000 claim based on an economist’s report was thrown out, resulting in a minimal award, which in turn led to a filing by the plaintiffs of new actions in federal court under RICO; and most recently,
  • The defense of corporate fiduciaries in trust matters before Pennsylvania Orphans’ Courts.

Mr. Lawler has received the highest possible rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

Representative Experience

  • Estates and orphans’ court litigation involving the representations of foreign claimants to Pennsylvania estates, will contests, disputes involving powers of attorney, and disputes involving nonprofit corporations.
  • Contract matters involving representation of guarantors, builders, developers, landlords, mortgagees, and land owners in various disputes including construction and zoning matters.
  • Legal professional liability matters involving disputes between law partners, recovery of funds from embezzling attorneys, and defense of malpractice claims.
  • Government contracts involving various disputes in the Court of Federal Claims challenging government actions involving acquisition of goods and services.
  • First jury trial: the defense of first-degree murder charge, one year out of law school, with his father at counsel table, resulting in a voluntary manslaughter verdict.

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Mr. Lawler is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
  • He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children of Philadelphia County (2011-2017).
  • He served as a board member and past president of The Lawyers’ Club of Philadelphia and St. Joseph’s University Law Alumni.
  • He is a member of the Brehon Law Society and North Hills Country Club, where he served on the board and as president.
  • Mr. Lawler served as a member of La Salle College High School’s Board of Trustees (2009-2014).
  • He is a member of the University of Pennsylvania Law School American Inn of Court (Treasurer 2012-2018).
  • He was a founding board member of Philabundance, a food distribution network providing food to the hungry in the Delaware Valley.
  • He is a member of the Board of the Historical Society of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
    American College of Trial Lawyers

Awards and Recognition

  • McClanaghan Award, St. Joseph University Law Alumni, November 2004, For outstanding work in the profession and commitment to the University

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