Focus Magazine, April 2004 – Law with Heart: Giving Back at RJG
By: Phoebe Sharp
The law firm of Rosenn, Jenkins and Greenwald celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this May. It is the largest and oldest law firm in NEPA. It has expanded beyond its original Wilkes-Barre location to include offices in Hazleton, Scranton and Milford. Yet, somehow, it continues to keep a firm grip on the values and ethics of its founders.
“We have a responsibility to give back to the community.”
It’s a statement—and philosophy—I was to hear over and over in interviews with the firm’s founders, partners and younger associates.
But was it just some kind of mantra instilled in the RJG corporate culture? After all, the partners are the first to admit that public visibility and service is good for business. Or is it more than that—a genuine belief that public service is a debt owed to the community in which one works and lives?
The answer is simple, and it begins with the beginning of the firm itself.
You need to go all the way back to World War II, to the day after Pearl Har- bor—December 8, 1941. This is the day Harold Rosenn, a founding partner and now of counsel to RJG, was admitted to the bar.
“Not a very auspicious day,” he grins ruefully. “My brother, Max, had already been practicing law as a sole practitioner, and it looked like I wouldn’t be joining him anytime soon. I went into the service and was stationed with the 8th Air Force in England, with a B-17 bomb group. Max volunteered in 1944 and went to the South Pacific as an officer with the Judge Advocate General’s office.
“I came out in 1945, and he came out in 1946. Max set up our practice on the twelfth floor of the United Penn Bank Building and formalized our partnership on July 1, 1948.
“Max was always very forward thinking, and he re- alized that the future trend in law would be partnership firms. There was only one other partnership firm in existence at that time—Redford, McGuigan, Waller and Jones (now defunct)—and it was really quite a novel idea. We started looking for people to join the firm. We had three qualities we were searching for in pos- sible candidates—integrity, ability and compatibility.”