Legal Maneuvers

North­east nat­ive Sam Pond de­veloped his work eth­ic in a vari­ety of jobs. But he settled in­to law and, these days, likes to bang heads with in­sur­ance com­pan­ies that turn balky when it comes time to sat­is­fy claims.

Look­ing back on his school­ing and early jobs, law­yer Sam Pond is proud of his blue-col­lar roots.

“I’m about as Philly as they come,” he said.

Pond grew up on Prim­rose Road in Tor­res­dale, gradu­at­ing from St. Kath­er­ine of Si­ena and Arch­bish­op Ry­an High School (Class of 1976), where he played soc­cer. He earned a de­gree in fin­ance from Drexel Uni­versity in 1981 and three years later gradu­ated from the Temple Uni­versity School of Law.

Be­fore em­bark­ing on his pro­fes­sion­al ca­reer, he worked at sev­er­al Phil­adelphia in­sti­tu­tions. He worked the presses at the Phil­adelphia In­quirer, was on the pro­duc­tion line at Schmidt’s brew­ery and worked in qual­ity con­trol at the Tasty Bak­ing Co., where he got to sample plenty of Tastykakes.

“I tasted a lot of beer, too,” he said of work­ing at Schmidt’s, the former brew­ery at Second Street and Gir­ard Av­en­ue.

Pond star­ted his leg­al ca­reer hand­ling de­fense cases for the in­sur­ance in­dustry, but he hated the work.

For 22 years he worked for Mar­tin Banks, a firm that rep­res­ents plaintiffs in work­ers’-com­pens­a­tion lit­ig­a­tion, and rose to be­come a part­ner.

Last sum­mer, he and some oth­ers left Mar­tin Banks to open Pond Le­hocky Stern Giord­ano, with prime of­fice space in the United Plaza at 30 S. 17th St. His 17th-floor of­fice in­cludes pic­tures of him with the likes of U.S. Sen. Bob Ca­sey Jr., former Gov. Ed Rendell and polit­ic­al strategist James Carville, Demo­crats who be­ne­fit from con­tri­bu­tions from tri­al law­yers.

Pond, who was pres­id­ent of the Phil­adelphia Tri­al Law­yers As­so­ci­ation in 2005-06, also dis­plays his tick­et to game five of the 2008 World Series, when the Phil­lies cap­tured the cham­pi­on­ship. And while he wasn’t at the Spec­trum when the Fly­ers won their first Stan­ley Cup in 1974, he was cel­eb­rat­ing at Frank­ford and Cottman av­en­ues.

The new firm de­b­uted on Ju­ly 1, 2010 and has grown to 60 em­ploy­ees. Satel­lite of­fices opened last Oc­to­ber at 2981 Grant Ave. and in April in Pennsauken, N.J.

The firm spe­cial­izes in work­ers’ com­pens­a­tion and So­cial Se­cur­ity dis­ab­il­ity cases.

Pond, 53, en­joys spar­ring with in­sur­ance com­pan­ies in courtrooms.

“I love it. I feel blessed,” he said. “Every­one has had a run-in with in­sur­ance com­pan­ies. I love work­ing with my cli­ents.”

Today he lives in New­town Square, Delaware County, with his wife Mimi and 15-year-old son Dylan, a sopho­more at the Haver­ford School. He and the former Mimi Mc­Monagle met as first-graders at St. Kath­er­ine of Si­ena, and his in-laws still live on Au­brey Av­en­ue in Tor­res­dale.

Pond’s par­ents, Mar­ie and Sam, died with­in five months of each oth­er when he was in law school. The stu­dent got an early taste of the leg­al pro­fes­sion by help­ing to se­cure a pen­sion for his dad, who worked 35 years as a ma­chin­ist.

Though his un­der­gradu­ate de­gree was in fin­ance, Pond began to see how the law had such a wide-ran­ging im­pact.

“The rule of law makes the United States and West­ern so­ci­ety run ef­fi­ciently,” he said.

While Pond spends 60 to 70 hours a week on his law prac­tice, he is able to have fun and take part in com­munity causes.

His in­terests in­clude read­ing, polit­ics, kayak­ing, ski­ing, ten­nis, box­ing, go­ing to the gym, chess, coach­ing soc­cer and boat­ing at the Jer­sey shore.

Loc­ally, he is a be­ne­fact­or of Arch­bish­op Ry­an’s cap­it­al cam­paign. His Grant Av­en­ue of­fice sponsored a tur­key drive last Thanks­giv­ing. He has been a long­time sup­port­er of state Rep. Den­nis O’Bri­en and cites state Sen. Mike Stack, state Rep. Brendan Boyle, elec­tri­cians uni­on boss John Dougherty and City Coun­cil can­did­ate Bobby Hen­on as oth­ers who put neigh­bor­hoods first. 

One of his proudest roles is over­see­ing the Mar­ie Pond Me­mori­al Schol­ar­ship Fund, which has provided col­lege schol­ar­ship money for Tor­res­dale Boys Club mem­bers since 1991. All re­cip­i­ents have gone on to gradu­ate from col­lege.

Mar­ie Pond, who worked at a dry-clean­ing busi­ness, was a pop­u­lar fig­ure at the Tor­res­dale Boys Club.

“She was a real big boost­er,” her son said. “She’d tell soc­cer play­ers they were the next Pele or base­ball play­ers that they were the next Wil­lie Mays.”

Pond sup­ports his alma ma­ter, Arch­bish­op Ry­an, in an ef­fort to pre­serve Cath­ol­ic edu­ca­tion at a time of dwind­ling en­roll­ment and school clos­ings.

“Ry­an has a large stamp on the Far North­east,” he said. “It can’t fall by the way­side like North Cath­ol­ic and Car­din­al Dougherty.” ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­

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