Friday, November 12, 2010

Remembering Marvin Comisky

Though Marvin Comisky was a brilliant lawyer, a hugely successful businessperson and a well-known Philadelphia personality, he was not in any way intimidating.
So, if you approached him with trepidation, your fears were immediately put to rest for he was a charming man.
To begin with, he was not physically imposing. He did not move with grand gestures or present himself as anything more than he was, a hard-working Philadelphia lawyer. And, I can honestly say that I never, ever heard him raise his voice.
He was always well-mannered and he was well trained in the old ways of respecting others, cultivating friends and doing business diligently, quietly and honestly.
He never failed to say "thank you" and frequently followed up with a personal note.
In the world that Comisky came from lawyers were not flashy or splashy or boastful. Never.
So, he did not bring attention to himself. And when he offered suggestions or made observations he did so gently and kindly.
This is the way I remember him.
But the mere mention of the name "Marvin Comisky" brought to mind a modern American success story and the ongoing role of a man who became one of the region's most influential professionals. Comisky not only whispered into the ears of the rich and powerful (and they invariably listened) but he also remembered to always give back to the community. So, he was involved in numerous civic and charitable causes. He was a generous man -- generous with time, talent and treasure.
Comisky obtained his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1941. He founded what was then  known as Blank Rome Comisky & McCauley in 1959. He went on to head the firm’s litigation department and in 1969 was elected Blank Rome’s first managing partner. He later served as firm chairman and in 1990 assumed the role of chairman emeritus. In 1994, Comisky officially retired from the firm and split his time between his homes in Cheltenham, Pa., and Florida. 
But Marvin Comisky remained a familiar figure in Philadelphia legal circles. Indeed, he continued to come into the office and offer advice and counsel to the firm and its partners and associates.
Today, the firm known simply as Blank Rome has a record of providing exceptional service to clients for more than 60 years.  It is one of America's largest law firms and continues to add leading talent and new practice areas to handle critical client matters.
But none of this would have ever been possible without Marvin Comisky -- a man whose life will forever be associated with the practice of law -- a man who epitomized the term "Philadelphia lawyer" at its very best.

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