With deep roots to his community and a steady, progressive approach that's attracted a broad range of clients, David Ladov has emerged as one of the leading matrimonial lawyers in Pennsylvania today. He's been well known and widely respected for more than two decades, but in recent years - he just completed being president of the state chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers - he is clearly among the top of his profession, peers say. Recently, after a decade as a partner of a large Philadelphia-based firm, he joined Obermayer as co-chair of the firm's matrimonial law practice group; prior to that he built a professional reputation as a resourceful independent practitioner. Ladov is in many respects the classic divorce lawyer - outgoing, scrappy and pugnacious - yet realistic and adaptable: Beyond the standard-issue support-and-custody cases he handles, Ladov has taken on those unprecedented cases involving surrogacy, same-sex unions and modern custody fights, all reflecting the changing social landscape.
The Norristown native had little idea divorce law would be his calling early on ("I pictured myself becoming a "Y" director - I liked camping") but through Penn State he pursued an original discipline of "Individual and Family Studies" in its College of Human Development; unaware it was grooming him for divorce law. In law school at Emory in Atlanta ("It gave me a chance to see a different part of the country - I knew I'd be returning home") his Family Law professor recognized his remarkable aptitude for the field - she told him, "This is what you are going to do." Returning to Norristown, Ladov joined a small firm, Fox & Fox, where he "did a little bit of everything," but mostly honed his courtroom skills and learned from "some of the best lawyers in the area." For three years he practiced with Lynne Gold-Bikin, and helped build her substantial matrimonial practice. In 1983, barely 30, Ladov went out on his own. "Growing up here, I knew many people. I knew clients would come through the door, eventually." It didn't take long for Ladov to need a larger door: Within a few years, he purchased a building in Plymouth Meeting, adding associates and staff. "It was a classic boutique practice." Over the years Ladov grew more selective, but his hallmark has always been capably handling a large and varied caseload. Further, he's been a reliable contributor to the state's family law bar, where he was President of the Family Law Section and he continues to edit its quarterly publication.
After 20 years on his own, Ladov hit a wall not uncommon among successful independents: "I felt a bit stymied because I knew it'd be difficult to grow further." In early 2003, "out of the blue," the Cozen O'Connor firm approached him with a shareholder offer; in early 2013 the Obermayer firm lured him away.
For many years, Ladov has served as president of his community's temple, with 600 families, near his former Blue Bell home; today he sits on the board and is Vice President of his new Philadelphia synagogue, Society Hill. He and his wife Sayde, herself a Partner at the law firm Dolchin, Slotkin and Todd, and Past Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, have two daughters. One is a third year law student at Rutgers - Camden and the other is a senior at Emory University. Ladov is an avid golfer, although "I'm too busy to play much."