News

January 21, 2008

Bill Scott ’74 Leads Pennsylvania Bar Institute

As attorney, he specializes in workers’ compensation defense

For Bill Scott ’74, the years he spent as a government and law major are filled with fond memories.

Now president of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) and a shareholder at the law firm of Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin (MDWCG), Scott believes his Lafayette education gave him a leg up when it came to tackling the curriculum at Dickinson School of Law and made for a smooth academic transition.

“The academics were at a level that when I got to law school, I had already done a significant amount of writing and processing of information and putting it into a logical, coherent form,” he says. “In addition, the amount of work at law school didn’t surprise or shock me.”

After spending the first 20 years of his career in small-town practice either by himself or with a single partner, Scott joined MDWCG, limiting his practice to workers’ compensation defense, and will celebrate his twelfth anniversary there this spring. He is the attorney manager at the firm’s Bethlehem branch. With over 400 lawyers in 17 locations throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, and Florida, MDWCG focuses entirely on insurance-defense litigation, representing the insured or self-insured.

“I enjoy the trial practice,” says Scott. “Workers’ compensation gives me the opportunity to perform trial work either in hearings or medical depositions on a daily basis.”

Scott is serving a one-year term as president of PBI, the continuing legal education arm of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA). Based in Mechanicsburg, PBI has a location in Philadelphia and plans to open another this spring in Pittsburgh.

“The Pennsylvania Bar Institute is the largest and most respected provider of legal education for lawyers across the Commonwealth,” explains Scott. “We provide live seminars across the state and a vast number of those are available on our web site for attorneys to have access to on a regular basis. We also have a publishing arm that produces books and other publications on law-related topics across the Commonwealth.”

The skills he acquired at Lafayette have helped Scott not only in his legal practice, but in his everyday dealings with people associated with PBI and PBA. Scott credits his relationship with Paul Pfretzschner [former professor and head of government and law] with giving him the chance to explore his academic field outside the classroom.

Leopard ties run deep for Scott. His father, William Z. Scott, Sr. ’39, was a liberal arts graduate, and his son, government and law graduate Christopher L. Scott ’02, is a practicing attorney in Lancaster, Pa.

“Dr. Pfretzschner and I became quite friendly,” recalls Scott. “He was someone I really enjoyed having in class, and one of the nice things about Lafayette is because of its size, I had an opportunity to continue my education with him on a social and out-of-class level. One of the things Lafayette always maintained was the opportunity to meet and learn from people from many varied backgrounds, both intellectually and socially. One of the charms of a small liberal arts school is the opportunity to grow in the understanding of the world and what’s available at various locations and levels throughout the world. The ability to walk into situations with people I don’t know or from various backgrounds and be able to feel comfortable in those situations has served me well, including in my work with the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and Pennsylvania Bar Association.”

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