Eckert Seamans Attorneys and Practices Ranked by Chambers USA 2018

May 8, 2018


Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC has again been named among the nation’s leading law firms, earning top rankings in multiple practice areas and markets in the 2018 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. Notably, the firm’s Hospitality Group was ranked nationally in Leisure & Hospitality. According to Chambers USA, “the team demonstrates broad strengths in transactional work, management agreements and financing matters for hotel owners, investors, developers and lenders. Calls upon wider expertise in its employment practice, regularly advising on disputes work and union-related matters.” In addition, the firm’s Aviation Group was listed as a recognized practitioner nationwide in Transportation: Aviation: Regulatory.

In Pennsylvania, Chambers USA ranked the firm’s Bankruptcy/Restructuring, Construction, Intellectual Property, and General Commercial Litigation groups among the state’s top practices.

Ten Eckert Seamans attorneys were selected by their clients and peers for inclusion among America’s Leading Business Lawyers by Chambers USA. Attorneys with the firm’s Hospitality and Aviation practices earned national rankings, while lawyers in the firm’s Public Finance, Bankruptcy/Restructuring, Construction, and Litigation practices earned high honors in Pennsylvania.

Full rankings and editorial commentary are available on the Chambers and Partners website. The publication’s rankings are based upon the recommendations of more than 10,000 clients and lawyers throughout the United States. Chambers USA researchers conduct thousands of interviews to obtain opinions about the lawyers and law firms the interviewees have dealt with over the past year. The leading law firms and attorneys are then compiled and ranked based on the comments in the interviews.


Timothy Q. Hudak (Pittsburgh), Notable Practitioner in Leisure & Hospitality Law – According to Chambers USA, “the ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Timothy Hudak regularly handles negotiations of hotel management and franchise agreements, alongside wider experience in joint venture matters. Clients describe him as a ‘strong lawyer’ who ‘knows the industry inside and out.’”

Evelyn D. Sahr (Washington, D.C.), Notable Practitioner in Transportation: Aviation: Regulatory – According to Chambers USA, “Evelyn Sahr was highlighted by a client as ‘an outstanding lawyer who is extremely responsive and knowledgeable.’ She routinely advises clients on regulatory matters before government agencies and airport authorities, as well as commercial compliance matters in the aviation space.”

Drew M. Derco (Washington, D.C.), Up and Coming in Transportation: Aviation: Regulatory – According to Chambers USA, “Drew Derco has an emerging aviation regulatory practice advising international and domestic air carrier clients on compliance matters and other regulatory issues. He has experience representing clients before agencies such as the DOT.”


Construction – According to Chambers USA, the “well-respected construction practice” is “esteemed for its strength in construction disputes and also regularly advises on bidding and procurement, government contracts and regulatory compliance issues. Active in both national and international projects in the infrastructure, energy and leisure sectors.” Clients say: “The attorneys and the firm are straightforward, knowledgeable and engaged.” Sources add: “They have very good breadth and depth.”

Intellectual Property – According to Chambers USA, the team has an “enviable track record in the registration and protection of patents, trademarks and copyright. Possesses substantial IP experience across a number of areas including advertising, entertainment and biotechnology. Experienced in handling worldwide patent portfolios, as well as advising on the IP aspects of corporate transactions.” One client states: “The team is highly effective, working through challenging analyses with legal wisdom and business savvy. They also excel when it comes to the day-to-day maintenance activities, staying on top of the little details that matter.”

Bankruptcy/Restructuring – According to Chambers USA, the team “regularly advises an impressive roster of clients from a variety of sectors, covering Chapter 11 cases, workout litigation and reorganizations. Renowned for its prowess in contentious bankruptcy work including lender liability, preference and fraudulent conveyance actions. Possesses expertise across a variety of industries, in particular the leisure sector, regularly working with hotels and fast food restaurants. Skilled in municipal finance and restructuring issues.” “Clients note their ‘excellent impression’ of the firm, valuing its ‘immediate response to all matters presented.’”

Litigation: General Commercial (Western Pennsylvania) – According to Chambers USA, the team is “distinguished for its representation of clients in commercial litigation before state and federal courts and highly regarded for its strengths in IP and trade secret disputes. Also maintains a fine reputation for its insurance coverage defense and product liability work.”
One impressed client remarks: “They have really got to know our business and its people very well. We have found their team to be made up of ‘lawyer’s lawyers’ who are very smart, hard-working and responsive.”



Joan N. Stern (Philadelphia), Notable Practitioner – According to Chambers USA, Joan Stern “is an experienced financing practitioner with wide renown in the market. She is noted for her additional capabilities in bond offerings.”


Gary M. Schildhorn (Philadelphia), Notable Practitioner – According to Chambers USA, Gary Schildhorn is “experienced in acting for large banks in bankruptcy proceedings, regularly handling both Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 proceedings.”

Karen Lee “Kitt” Turner (Philadelphia), Notable Practitioner – According to Chambers USA, Kitt Turner is “accomplished within surety matters and represents a range of creditors, including insurance companies and private landlords. She is praised for her ‘knowledge, efficiency and good results. Kitt works quickly and excellent results are achieved.’”


Scott D. Cessar (Pittsburgh), Notable Practitioner – According to Chambers USA, “Scott Cessar garners accolades for his ‘pragmatic, thorough and hard-working’ demeanor, with sources further highlighting his ‘great respect for the client’s interests.’ His practice features notable strength in litigation, arbitration and mediation claims, where he acts for a range of suppliers, owners and construction companies.”

Christopher R. Opalinski (Pittsburgh), Notable Practitioner – According to Chambers USA, “Christopher Opalinski offers well-honed advocacy skills in a range of construction litigation and arbitration claims, alongside wider strengths in commercial disputes. Interviewees describe him as ‘a high-quality lawyer,’ offering notable praise for his ‘impressive understanding of the law and clients’ businesses.’”

Cornelius J. O’Brien (Pittsburgh), Notable Practitioner – According to Chambers USA, “Cornelius O’Brien has notable strength in construction disputes work, offering considerable experience in litigation matters and a range of arbitral proceedings. His clients include owners, sureties and contractors.”


David M. Laigaie (Philadelphia), Recognized Practitioner – David Laigaie handles cases involving health care fraud, securities fraud, tax fraud, export violations, pharmaceutical marketing fraud, municipal corruption, defense procurement fraud, and public finance fraud.

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