Member of the Month: Kenneth A. Murphy, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

What are you currently working on?

Onboarding a new mass tort engagement, and closing out the discovery phase in an existing pharmaceutical mass tort litigation.

What do you enjoy most about being a member of the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia?

The opportunity to serve as a connector for senior members and past presidents, on the one hand, and younger members and newly-minted attorneys on the other.  Helping to ensure that institutional knowledge and history are preserved and passed on.  I have had the privilege of meeting the late Honorable A. Leon Higginbotham, receiving “history lessons” from the late Honorable Clifford Scott Green, and being mentored by the late Honorable Eugene Clarke.  Being able to share the benefit of those interactions with the next generation is a privilege, responsibility and passion.

What has been the most important personal attribute in your legal career?

Intellectual honesty.  There is no way around understanding the relevant subject matter and doing the work.

Tell us about what you do every day at work?

Since March of this year, I have focused more on actual litigation and business development.  For the past four years, I was a Managing Partner (member of the firm’s Executive Committee) as well as Chair of the firm’s Product Liability Mass Tort Practice Group.

If you hit the lottery tonight, where could we find you tomorrow?

Hint:  Not at One Logan Square.

What has been the best moment of your career thus far?

It is difficult to identify or isolate one moment as “the best,” as I have been blessed with many opportunities and experiences during my career.  Among the most gratifying and uplifting experiences was a 2010 trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, where I actually found myself in the majority among the principal participants:  the presiding judge was African American, as were the judge’s law clerk and tip staff.  The trial was of major significance:  The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had sued my client for hundreds of millions of dollars, having leveled claims of Medicaid fraud and unjust enrichment.  It was the first such case tried in Pennsylvania against a pharmaceutical manufacturer.  At the close of the Commonwealth’s case, the Court granted my motion for non-suit and subsequently wrote a supporting memorandum opinion that was affirmed on appeal.  That was quite a moment.

If you had a chance to give out your own award, who would you recognize?

Joe Tucker.  When  you consider the history of minority-owned law firms in Philadelphia, you cannot help but admire and applaud what Joe has accomplished over time.

What is the most important advice you can give to members of the Barristers?

Get to know one another.  Consider it your obligation to know the practice areas of other members.  Consider it your obligation to be a connector, and a facilitator of relationships.  Consider it your responsibility to leave this organization better than you found it.