First Woman to Chair the Committee; Barry Abelson Steps Down aft…

First Woman to Chair the Committee; Barry Abelson Steps Down after 12 Years

Philadelphia, PA – February 12, 2007 – LAWFUEL – Legal News Daily – Pepper Hamilton LLP announced that Nina M. Gussack, chair of the firm’s pharmaceutical and medical litigation and counseling practice, has been elected chair of the Executive Committee, the firm’s governing body. She assumes the position from Barry M. Abelson, one of the firm’s most senior corporate and securities partners, who has chaired the Executive Committee since 1995, and who will continue his full-time practice of law.

“Nina is a leader in the bar, the firm and her practice,” said Mr. Abelson. “She has extraordinary energy, passion and commitment to clients. She is both a visionary with big ideas and a driver who gets things done. We are delighted to have her lead the Committee, and I am proud to have her as my successor.”

“I look forward to moving Pepper to a new level of national and international prominence,” said Ms. Gussack, who lives in Wynnewood, PA. “Our litigation and corporate expertise, our deep knowledge of our clients’ industries and our creative counseling will continue to propel the firm forward in a global marketplace. These assets will ensure that Pepper is seen as a ‘go to’ firm for clients seeking the best solutions to their thorniest legal challenges and most complex business transactions.”

“Pepper owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Barry Abelson for his dynamic and dedicated leadership over the past 12 years, and we look forward to his continued involvement as we pursue our strategic objectives,” said Robert E. Heideck, Pepper’s executive partner. “His entrepreneurial spirit and relentless energy have served and will continue to serve the firm extremely well.”

During Mr. Abelson’s tenure as chair of the Executive Committee, Pepper has seen one of its greatest periods of expansion. The firm has opened offices in Pittsburgh, Princeton, Orange County (Ca.) and Boston. It has grown from 274 lawyers to 450 lawyers. Its gross revenues have climbed from $81 million to $259 million.

Ms. Gussack’s practice is concentrated in civil litigation, with a primary emphasis on the defense of pharmaceutical and medical device companies regarding marketed products, investigational new drugs, medical devices and over-the-counter drug products. She also counsels clients on clinical trial compliance, FDA compliance in promotional activities, and Lanham Act claims in the pharmaceutical industry. She will maintain an active law practice while serving as chair of the Executive Committee.

Active in professional organizations, Ms. Gussack is a member of the Product Liability Advisory Council, the International Association of Defense Counsel, the Defense Research Institute (chair of the Drug and Medical Device Committee, 2003-04), the Ethics Committee of Wills Eye Hospital (Philadelphia, Pa.) and the Women’s Pharmaceutical Network.

Ms. Gussack has spent her entire legal career at Pepper, starting as a summer associate in 1978. She joined the firm as an associate after she graduated from Villanova University School of Law in 1979, and was elected to the partnership in 1987.

Ms. Gussack is the first woman in Pepper’s 117-year history to be elected chair of the Executive Committee. Pepper has a long and successful record of promoting women to leadership roles in the firm – Barbara W. Mather, who is currently co-chair of the firm’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department, served as the firm’s executive partner in the early 1990s; women chair the firm’s practices in antitrust, pharmaceutical and medical litigation and counseling, insurance, investment funds, media and communications, real estate and tax; and women serve on every firm management committee, including the Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Compensation Committee and Hiring Committee. The firm elected its first female partner, Roberta P. McKinney, in 1960.

About Pepper Hamilton

Pepper Hamilton LLP ( is a multi-practice law firm with 450 lawyers in seven states and the District of Columbia. The firm provides corporate, litigation and regulatory legal services to leading businesses, governmental entities, nonprofit organizations and individuals throughout the nation and the world. The firm was founded in 1890.

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