Peabody & Arnold LLP: A local firm with a national scope

Issue January/February 2016

Peabody & Arnold LLP, based in Boston with an office in Providence, is a Massachusetts Bar Association Honor Roll Firm. Managing partner Allen David discusses the firm's lengthy history and its current mission:

What types of law does Peabody & Arnold LLP handle?

We focus exclusively on litigation and insurance matters.

What are the particular areas of specialization where Peabody & Arnold LLP has made a name for itself?

There are four areas of law for which the firm is best known. On a local and regional level, it is known for its experience in professional liability defense - primarily legal malpractice - and employment law representing management. On a national level, it is known for its work in insurance coverage, and medical device and pharmaceutical litigation.

Anything to announce in the coming year?

Peabody & Arnold LLP has long been known as an excellent trial firm. What the public and the legal community may not know, however, is that Peabody & Arnold LLP has been quietly developing a stellar group of women trial attorneys. Forty percent of the firm's partners are women. Women make up 45 percent of the partners in the litigation group and those partners have significant trial expertise on the local and national level. In the coming year, the firm plans to celebrate with our clients, and the public, the depth of our women lawyer trial bench and our commitment to train the next generation of women to become accomplished trial lawyers.

Describe a recent pro bono project the firm has undertaken.

The firm volunteered to represent a Boston Marathon bombing victim and was assigned to represent a young woman who had part of her calf sheared off by shrapnel and had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. The firm shepherded her through the One Fund and through the Massachusetts Victim's Fund procedures, such that she received the maximum recovery for which she was entitled. It drafted an appropriate estate plan for her, and found her a financial management firm to advise her. It also provided her with general advice, moral support and encouragement. She has rebounded from her tragedy and has become a valued friend, as well as a pro bono client, of the firm.

Name at least one fact about Peabody & Arnold LLP that people might be surprised to learn (famous alumni, etc).

It would have to be John Brooks. John, who died in 2012, spent his entire career here. He was champion of legal services for the poor and was instrumental in founding Greater Boston Legal Services. When John was 80, President Bill Clinton appointed him to the board of the Legal Services Corporation. The MBA presented him with its 100th Community Service Award in 1994. As a lifelong Quaker, John was active in the anti-draft movement in the 1960s, and tried a draft case with William Kunstler.

Why is it important to have all the lawyers in your firm members of the MBA?

Providing membership to all members of our firm encourages our attorneys to be active in the greater legal committee and to participate in the various programs offered by the MBA.

Additionally, all of our attorneys have the ability to take advantage of the MBA's free CLE programs, many of which are located just a short walk from our office at the MBA's headquarters in Boston. The CLEs are also offered at convenient times, usually lunch or early evening, making it easier for our attorneys to attend. Many CLEs are also live streamed for those that cannot make it to the live program.

In what ways do you find the MBA beneficial to the lawyers in your firm?

Membership in the MBA has been beneficial to both experienced practitioners in our firm and younger associates. For the more experienced practitioners, the MBA has provided an outlet for them to give back to legal community, whether it be mentoring newer attorneys and law students, presenting at CLE programs or volunteering in the MBA's Dial-a-Lawyer program as well as other MBA volunteer initiatives and pro bono programs. The MBA also provides these attorneys with an opportunity to network with their peers from other area firms, including those who specialize in different practices areas.

For the newer attorneys, the MBA provides many similar opportunities. It also provides these individuals with opportunities for leadership roles early on in their careers. Further, these attorneys enjoy the chance to attend free CLE programs on a variety of topics relevant to their practice. Many of our firm's associates are involved in the MBA's Young Lawyers' Division which is specifically geared to meet these needs and provides an inviting environment for them to commence their bar association involvement.