THE POST-WAR ERA, 1942-1988

During the Post-War era, the bar expanded rapidly, as did the role of the federal government in Pittsburgh business life.  Having lost some of the early rounds in the fight against progressive reform, Pittsburgh's corporate lawyers now found themselves in different roles, as financial influence continued to shift to Wall Street.  Pittsburgh corporate lawyers began to take the lead in Pittsburgh's renaissance and redevelopment while the steel industry declined, while Earl Reed's successors became prized for their diplomacy in labor negotiations as much as for their willingness to fight. 

The growing power of labor unions in the region during mid-century provided at least some of the backdrop for the Communist witch hunts of the era, led by Judge Michael A. Musmanno and State Attorney General Charles Margiotti.  Judge Musmanno made headlines going after attorney Hymen Schlesinger for representing Communists, while Attorney General Margiotti attempted to remove  Marjorie Matson as an Assistant District Attorney for being a "Communist sympathizer."

Specialization and larger firms began to take hold locally, as did a growing amount of conflict between local and federal authorities -- from the disagreements between federal and county trial judges over scheduling, to the most dramatic of all federal vs. county eruptions -- the attempted indictment of County District Attorney Robert Duggan on corruption charges by United States Attorney Dick Thornburgh.  The period was also marked by incremental successes of the African-American civil rights movement, led by lawyers for the Urban League and the NAACP, as well as by an activist Neighborhood Legal Services group, founded over the vocal protests of some small firm practitioners.

© 2019 by R.W. SCHULER