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August 23, 2014, 7:21 am

Seasoned lawyer joins city’s largest Black firm

Medical negligence attorney Bernard W. Smalley Sr. has joined Philadelphia’s largest African-American owned law firm.

With offices in Philadelphia and Miramar, Fla., Tucker Law Group, LLC, specializes in civil and commercial litigation and handles individual personal injury cases and employment discrimination matters. Led by attorneys Joe H. Tucker and Yvonne B. Montgomery, TLG is known for representing major companies, colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area.

Smalley, who has become senior counsel to TLG, concentrates his practice in the areas of medical negligence, pharmaceutical liability, defamation, class actions, products liability and other major personal injury matters.

Prior to joining TLG, Smalley practiced law for 27 years with the Philadelphia-based firm of Anapol, Schwartz, Weiss, Cohen, Feldman & Smalley, P.C.

Smalley said he was drawn to TLG for its quality and diverse base of African-American, Asian, Caucasian and Hispanic attorneys.

“There comes a point in your life, where you want to carry out what you talk about,” he said. “One of the things that I’ve been interested in for a long time is diversity. While the large firms can represent people of color, they should also hire people of color and that has been met with mixed results not only at Anapol Schwartz, but also with some of the largest personal injury firms in the city.

“Joining Joe’s firm is an opportunity for me to work with of group of creative and diverse attorneys,” Bernard said. “To be able to handle complex, very detailed cases and to get strong results for our clients, for me to able to do that in a very diverse atmosphere that mirrors what the city of Philadelphia and the region looks like, is very important to me.”

Tucker referred to Smalley as one of country’s preeminent personal injury lawyers.

“His client base cuts across all demographic lines and just further establishes the Tucker Law Group as being the preeminent African American-owned law firm in the city and the state,” Tucker said.

“This is sort of a dream fulfilled for me. The fact that I’ve been able to establish something that Bernie feels good enough and comfortable enough to join, makes me feel proud of what we’re done here at the firm.”

Smalley is the first African American ever elected to serve as president of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association.

He is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Associations’ House of Delegates, National Bar Association and the Barrister’s Association. Smalley sat as chair of Hearing Committee 1.14 for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board and was a standing member of the Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court’s Evidence Committee.

He frequently lectures on trial techniques before national, state and local trial lawyer and bar associations.

Smalley has received the President’s Award from the Philadelphia Barristers Association, the Soaring Eagle Award from the Minority Caucus of the American Association of Justice (formally ATLA) and the Pursuit of Justice Award from the American Bar Association as well as the 2008 Justice Thurgood Marshall Award of Excellence.

He serves on various boards including the Widener University School of Law Board of Overseers and the board of City Trusts, the Girard College Committee (chairman), The Ellis Trust and the board of the Zoological Society of Philadelphia.

Prior to attending law school, Smalley was the deputy court administrator for Civil Administration for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Smalley received his bachelor’s degree from Temple University in 1971 and his law degree from Widener University School of Law in 1980.

He is married to Jacquelyn Manns Smalley. They have two sons, one daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.


Contact Tribune staff writer Ayana Jones at (215) 893-5747 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .