Stradley Ronon has announced that William Sasso will step down from his role as chairman of the firm’s management committee and board of directors, a position he has held since 1994 as part of the culmination of the firm’s transition plan, which began in September 2019. Sasso’s duties of managing the firm’s more than 200 attorneys across seven offices will be split between two long-time leaders of the firm, former Financial Partner Kevin Boyle and Managing Partner Jeffrey Lutsky. Boyle and Lutsky have been named co-chairs of the firm and will continue to serve on the firm’s management committee along with investment management co-chair Bruce Leto. As Chairman Emeritus, Sasso will serve as a full-time adviser to firm leadership on strategic growth, business development, marketing and client initiatives. Sasso is currently working on several legal projects which are transformational for the Greater Philadelphia Region, and he looks forward to intensifying his efforts on behalf of his clients.
Sasso began his career at Stradley Ronon in 1972 as a tax attorney but quickly built a reputation as a go-to lawyer and leading business leader in Philadelphia. His political influence crossed political aisles, as Sasso served as senior counsel on Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s transition team, was appointed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to serve on the board of Independence Blue Cross and was appointed by former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Infrastructure and Investment Authority (PENNVEST) and as a Commissioner of the Delaware River Port Authority, an office he held until 2015.
In 2018, Sasso received a lifetime achievement award from the Philadelphia Inquirer for his leadership in the legal and business community. Since 2017, he has been named to the Philadelphia Business Journal’s “Power 100” list of the most influential people in the Philadelphia region. In 2019, Mr. Sasso was selected by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of Philadelphia’s Most Admired CEOs. He was also inducted into the Philadelphia Business Journal’s “Best of the Bar: Hall of Fame” to honor his outstanding 47-year legal career.
“At the September 2019 partnership meeting of our firm, I informed my partners that I would step down as firm chairman at the end of 2020. Quite simply, the timing just felt right to me,” Sasso said. “I knew that the success of the firm financially and the continuation of our culture of giving back to the community would remain in good hands. I have worked for decades with our current management team consisting of Kevin Boyle, Bruce Leto and Jeff Lutsky. Our success has truly been a team effort, and I have no doubt that Kevin, Bruce and Jeff will continue to manage the firm ably, assisted by board members Fabio Battaglia, Matt DiClemente, Alison Fuller, Dave Joseph, Joe Nguyen and Mike O’Mara. The firm is in a great position moving forward.”
“Stradley Ronon is extremely fortunate to have benefited from Bill’s tremendous leadership and influence over the past 27 years,” Boyle said. “He has led the firm’s effort to grow not just in the number of attorneys and profitability but also in the level of sophistication in the work we do and the clients we represent. Jeff, Bruce and I have worked closely with Bill for years, and we’re excited to build on the foundation we have established and continue his and our firm’s commitment to providing our clients with high-quality representation, unparalleled responsiveness and unmatched service.”
“Bill has shaped the firm and the City of Philadelphia as a philanthropist, businessman, advisor, lawyer and citizen,” Lutsky said. “But what’s most special about Bill is the number of personal friendships he’s formed with clients, even those he’s known for only a short time. Bill’s client-first approach and passion for the communities we practice in resonates throughout our firm – and I strongly believe it’s a commitment that differentiates us from other firms.”
In his practice, Boyle represents large and small companies, nonprofit and religious organizations, and individuals in mergers and acquisitions, real estate acquisitions, dispositions, and development, real estate and corporate financing, tax assessments, condemnations and real estate-related disputes. As the firm’s financial partner, Boyle oversaw the financial performance of the firm and played a major role in strategic planning and the firm’s growth and expansion. He has served as chair of the firm’s business department and has served on the firm’s management committee since 2011.
Boyle is a founding member of the MANNA Institute and serves on the advisory board of MANNA, a nonprofit organization that provides nourishing, healthy food to those battling life-threatening illnesses. He is president of the board of directors for Philadelphia Futures, a nonprofit organization that prepares first-generation-to-college low-income students to enter and succeed in college. He also serves on the board of directors and executive committee of PIDC (Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation). He has received the Outstanding Leadership Award from the American Diabetes Association, been named to SmartCEO’s ‘Legal Elite’ and recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Faces of Philanthropy. Boyle earned his J.D. from Villanova University School of Law and his B.S., cum laude, from Saint Joseph’s University.
“I am excited about the opportunity to continue to not only help lead the firm but also actively support its efforts in serving the community and advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives internally and externally,” Boyle added.
Lutsky has served as Stradley’s Managing Partner since 2005. He concentrates his practice on complex and often high-stakes litigation and has been recognized by numerous leading trial organizations for his effective advocacy. His litigation experience spans a wide range of complex commercial, civil and criminal cases. As the firm’s managing partner, Lutsky has been responsible for articulating and implementing the strategic vision and direction of the firm, including oversight of the firm’s primary and regional offices and leadership of various firm initiatives in the areas of lateral partner recruitment, technology and diversity. He formerly served as chair of the firm’s litigation department and has served on the management committee for 15 years.
Lutsky is chairman of the board of trustees of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He is past chairman of the board of directors of the Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA and remains on the board and executive committee of that organization. He was selected as an ‘Outstanding Director’ by the Philadelphia Business Journal, named a Chambers USA ‘Leading Lawyer for Business’ and is a Senior Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. Lutsky received his J.D. from Villanova University School of Law and his B.A. from the University of Massachusetts.
“We are in a period of dynamic change for both the legal industry and for our clients. Kevin, Bruce and I are excited about the opportunity to lead the firm forward as we approach Stradley’s second century and the host of opportunities we envision for our future,” said Lutsky.
Leto is co-chair of the firm’s investment management group – one of the premier investment management practices in the United States, representing investment company clients with more than 1,500 separate funds and assets under management exceeding $3 trillion. Leto oversees more than 65 attorneys who provide counsel to investment companies, investment advisers, independent trustees and broker-dealers on securities and corporate law matters relating to pooled investment products, including registered and unregistered, open- and closed-end investment companies. He has served on the firm’s management committee since 2018.
Leto is an appointee to the advisory board of the Mutual Fund Directors Forum, a nonprofit membership organization for investment company independent directors dedicated to improving mutual fund governance, and is on the advisory board of Board IQ, an industry publication that addresses issues confronting investment company independent directors. He currently serves on the boards of The Philadelphia Orchestra Association, Settlement Music School and The Academy of Music, and is a founder and steering committee member of the Philadelphia Fund Alliance. He is ranked as a Band 1 attorney in Chambers USA for Investment Funds: Registered Funds, recommended by Best Lawyers in America for mutual funds law; and selected to the Legal 500 U.S. Hall of Fame for Mutual/ Registered/ Exchange-Traded Funds. He was selected as an ‘Influencer of Law – Investment Management’ by The Philadelphia Inquirer and was named to the Philadelphia Business Journal’s ‘Best of the Bar: Philadelphia’s Top Lawyers’ list in 2018 and 2020. Leto earned his J.D., cum laude, from Villanova University School of Law and his B.A., cum laude, from Haverford College.
“Bill’s support of the investment management practice at Stradley in his 27 years of leading the firm has helped us to create the premier investment management practice in the United States. His contributions to the legal profession extend well beyond the Philadelphia region, and I am excited to continue his legacy going forward,” said Leto.
Stradley Ronon’s more than 200 attorneys in seven offices have helped publicly and privately held corporations, health care and nonprofit organizations, small businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals achieve their goals since 1926. The firm has grown into one of the mid-Atlantic’s largest and most prominent corporate law firms with legal practices in areas such as complex commercial litigation, finance, intellectual property, investment management, mergers & acquisitions, tax, and trusts and estates. Outside of legal achievements, Stradley Ronon has a longstanding tradition of public service and pro bono work, serving the communities in which the firm works and lives. The firm is also deeply committed to promoting minority participation in the legal profession while fostering an environment of varying perspectives and differing views.