By Gina Passarella
Of the Legal Staff
Margery Reed, a prominent bankruptcy attorney at Duane Morris, has died at 59 after a long illness that started with thyroid cancer four years ago.
Reed died Monday. She remained active in her practice until November of this year, the firm said.
“Margie faced her illness in an upbeat and matter-of-fact way, that was so very characteristic of her as both a person and a lawyer,” Duane Morris Chairman and CEO John Soroko said in a statement to the firm. “Even while at home, she continued to work on client and firm-related matters into and through last month, until she started a period of hospice care just a few days ago.”
Reed started her career as a lawyer as a summer associate with Duane Morris. She began as an associate with the firm in 1982 and became a partner in the firm in 1990. She served for many years as a member of Duane Morris’ partners board. She practiced her entire career in the firm’s bankruptcy and business reorganization group.
“Margie was an outstanding lawyer. She was consistently rated as one of the very top bankruptcy and business reorganization lawyers in the U.S., and was elected a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy,” Soroko said.
Reed was chair of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Conference.
“She had an expertise in insurance companies that led to her being appointed as a director of the Attorneys’ Liability Assurance Society (ALAS), the preeminent legal attorney liability insurance co-operative providing coverage to the firm and many other leading firms around the U.S. within the Am Law 200,” Soroko said. “Margie served in that role with distinction and with her typical dedication, and I often heard from other directors of ALAS about how Margie stood out even in a group of some of the most accomplished lawyers in the U.S.”
Soroko said Reed always put her colleagues and the firm first and focused at the end of her active practice on ensuring a smooth transition of all her matters.
“She was the embodiment of the true lawyer who, in all things, asks only, ‘What is best for the client?’ And she was the embodiment of the true partner who, in all things, asks only, ‘What is best for the firm?’” Soroko said.
Rudolph “Skip” Di Massa Jr., head of the Duane Morris’ business reorganization and financial restructuring practice group, called Reed “a terrific partner, a wonderful friend, and one of the best mentors we have. She really took an interest in our young associates and, although she was demanding, she took the time to nurture and teach.”
Judge Marjorie Rendell of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit said of Reed: “To say that Margie had a positive attitude in everything she did—in sickness and in health—would be an understatement. I can only picture her—whether working on cases at the firm or more recently chatting over dinner—with a smile on her face and laughter about something bizarre that had happened. I will remember her always as the consummate professional and friend. She was a mentor to many and an inspiration to all. As difficult as her illness was, she never complained and, when you were with her, it was never about her.”
Reed represented Fortune 100 clients and others, including financial institutions, insurance companies and other creditors in bankruptcy cases, debt restructurings and secured transactions.
She was a 1982 graduate of Villanova University School of Law and a 1976 graduate of Vassar College.
Funeral services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday at Beth David Reform Congregation, 1130 Vaughan Lane, Gladwyne, Pa., 19035. Interment is set for Haym Salomon Memorial Park. Shiva is set to be observed at 7 p.m. Thursday and Saturday at the Reed residence. Contributions in her memory can be made to the Thyroid Cancer Research Fund (Perelman School of Medicine) at Penn Medicine or to Beth David Reform Congregation.