When I first began thinking about writing this blog, I thought: I am a trial lawyer. I am a former investigative journalist. And I live in Philadelphia.
So, naturally, I thought of Andrew Hamilton.
The expression, “a Philadelphia lawyer,” as in, a lawyer who is an exceptionally talented attorney-advocate, can be traced back nearly 300 years, to Andrew Hamilton. It’s been a few years, but his is still a really good story.
In the early-1700s, Hamilton crossed the Atlantic from Scotland and settled in Philadelphia. He met and worked with William Penn and that opened some doors politically. At various times, Hamilton served as Pennsylvania’s attorney general and Speaker of the House of Representatives. He is also credited with helping design the building that became Independence Hall. That’s not a bad list of accomplishments.
Hamilton is best known perhaps for being one of the most highly regarded trial lawyers of his day. One case in particular earned him his claim to fame: his defense in 1735 of John Peter Zenger for seditious libel.