By Gina Passarella
Of the Legal Staff
In today’s Legal, I wrote about the similarities between the way Reed Smith’s Greg Jordan and K&L Gates’ Peter Kalis have grown their respective firms. But it turns out they have much more in common than just both being from West Virginia and both taking their law firms from regional presences to global powerhouses.
- Both Jordan and Kalis grew up in a tiny town outside of Wheeling called Warwood, W.Va.
- Both of their fathers came to the United States as kids from neighboring Greek islands.
- Jordan lived in Kalis’ house in Pittsburgh when he was a summer associate at Reed Smith.
- Kalis hired Jordan to represent Kalis’ brother. Jordan won the case, Kalis paid him and Jordan got Kalis reimbursed from the other side.
- Both men have beach homes in Naples, Fla., in neighboring buildings on the same beach.
Jordan did point out that there are a few differences between the two. While Kalis, Jordan said, is smarter, Jordan is younger. Kalis was quick to reply, however, that Jordan is only younger by 108 months.
But on a more serious note, both men also share a commitment to their roots. Kalis said they wear their Warwood and West Virginia ties as a badge of pride. Jordan is on the board of West Virginia-based Bethany College, where he got his undergraduate degree. Kalis is on the board of the West Virginia University Foundation, the charitable arm of his alma mater.
Kalis said he thinks their West Virginia roots have given him and Jordan a headstart over their competitors. Perhaps Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe CEO Ralph Baxter, former Sullivan & Cromwell Chairman H. Rodgin Cohen and SNR Denton CEO Elliott Portnoy would agree – all three are West Virginia natives. West Virginia, the place where global law firm leaders are built?