Arthur W. Lefco, a Philadelphia-area lawyer renowned for his work in legal malpractice and professional and commercial liability, died Oct. 5 at the age of 71 in his home after a two-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
The Philly native, who grew up in Wyncote and lived in Conshohocken, where he was known by his friends as “Terry,” started his law career as general counsel at the Philadelphia Housing Authority in 1973.
He worked for several law firms in Greater Philadelphia, eventually becoming a partner at Mesirov, Gelman, Jaffe, Cramer & Jamieson, where he worked from 1975 to 1994.
From then until 1998, he was shareholder at Sherr, Joffe & Zuckerman P.C. Shortly after, he joined Cozen O’Connor as a senior member.
Hoping to expand his professional liability litigation practice, Lefco left Cozen O’Connor in 2002 for Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin in Center City, The Legal Intelligencer reported, where he served as senior counsel just before his death.
Lefco graduated from Germantown Academy, Michigan State University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he earned his degree in 1971 — while serving in the Army Reserve.
He was named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America in 2016 for legal malpractice law for defendants, and recognized by Best Lawyers since 2007 for commercial litigation and professional malpractice.
He was also recognized by Philadelphia Best Lawyers since 2007, named Pennsylvania Super Lawyer from 2005 to 2014, rated AV Preeminent by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, and awarded Penn Law’s Alumni Award of Merit.
Over his more than 40-year career, Lefco was affiliated with the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, American Bar Association, Philadelphia Bar Association, American Law Institute, Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania disciplinary board.
“Well-known in the Philadelphia legal community, his fellow lawyers and insurers routinely sought his advice, counsel and representation,” read his obituary by Marshall Dennehey law firm.
Lefco also often lectured on professional liability.
“Terry epitomized the ‘Philadelphia Lawyer,’ and as a lawyer and colleague he is just irreplaceable,” said Christopher E. Dougherty in the obituary, chairman of Marshall Dennehey and director of the firm’s Professional Liability Department. “Every aspect of his practice was impeccable: his devotion to his clients; his ability to handle cases of extraordinary complexity and exposure; his attention to detail; the quality of his writings; his respect for the bench and the rule of law; his sense of ethics; and his care in the development of younger attorneys.
“His loss will not only be felt in Marshall Dennehey, but also throughout the Delaware Valley legal community.”
Lefco is survived by his sister, Deborah; his brother, Anthony; his wife, Ann; sons Daniel and Jake; and three grandchildren. The family could not be reached for comment.
A memorial service was held at Congregation Rodeph Shalom Oct. 15. Contributions can be made to the World Wildlife Fund.