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Harold Semanoff ’77 looks back to 1979, when he worked for two years at a Center City firm in Philadelphia before he decided to strike out on his own.
“When I started my own firm two years out of law school, I had no clients, but I had no overhead,” he recalled. “If I don’t swing for the fence now, when will I do it? I thought I would try it for five years, and see how satisfied I was. I have never looked back.”
Fast forward to 2013, where he is head of the Complex Bodily Injury Practice for the firm Semanoff Ormsby Greenberg & Torchia, based outside of Philadelphia in Montgomery County.
Semanoff says the current firm, comprised of 21 attorneys, has been growing for most of the past 25 years. They recently hired three attorneys in the areas of health care and intellectual property, making them the largest they have ever been.
He described two recent successful cases, the first involving an oxygen-fueled fire in the operating room during the client’s operation. In another case, involving malpractice, the doctor did not diagnose an underlying infection that led to the person becoming a paraplegic.
Semanoff has had success representing clients against major auto and boat manufacturers. He has also represented physicians in partnership disputes, and insurance-related litigation.
He attended University of Maryland as an undergraduate, and during his days at Albany Law School he spent two years working as a legislative assistant to a New York City state assemblyman. He also gained litigation experience at the New York State Attorney General's Office. He also has taught other professionals in the Penn State Paralegal Program, lectured to community groups, and served as an expert witness in legal malpractice cases.
Last fall Semanoff visited the Albany Law School campus for the first time in many years.
“There were so many enhancements, yet the history was all there as well,” he said. “It was a wonderful experience; people could not have been nicer. I encourage people to visit.”