David Rasner
Divorce Law - Philadelphia, PA

David Rasner is widely regarded as one of finest divorce attorneys in Pennsylvania; today he is among the top two or three most experienced and influential practitioners in the state. For starters, Rasner is the head of Fox Rothschild's 12-attorney matrimonial department, one of the largest such practices in the region. More significant, the 58-year-old Rasner, having assumed key Supreme Court committee posts in his career, has had a direct impact on the formulation of the state's spouse-abuse rules as well as divorce procedural reform. Rasner today discreetly handles the divorces of some of Philadelphia's most successful, powerful and visible people. Born and raised in Philadelphia (and a graduate of Central High School) Rasner had a natural diligence and curiosity growing up ("My Dad was a hard worker") and family expectations of success in medicine or the law. ("In a Jewish family the definition of a lawyer is a boy who can't stand the sight of blood.") But remarkably, Rasner, after graduating at the top of his class at Temple, pursued graduate studies in European Intellectual History, and even worked in a summer government internship at the Pentagon in an ill-fitting bureaucratic job. "I was going through life learning what I didn't want to do." In that respect, the law "chose me," Rasner says. "I've always been a fairly practical individual." Rasner found his passion in a Villanova University clinical law program that "let us practice law" by assisting underprivileged "kids in trouble"; "I always had an interest in kids" (Those early efforts to help runaway youths led to the creation of Voyage House; it recently closed due to funding cutbacks.) Rasner then joined a small Center City firm where "I did everything" but increasingly took on divorce cases for friends and family. And with the passage of modern divorce statutes in 1980, "all of a sudden I was the expert." In 1981 Fox Rothschild, then with only 50 attorneys (today it has over 250), wooed Rasner and a colleague. Initially Fox Rothschild "had to be sold on the need and viability of divorce law as a practice area - but it proved itself quickly." Rasner says the practice area always suited him: "I've always had the personality to represent people rather than corporations." A capable manager ("Running our group is a bit like herding cats - independent but very professional") Rasner is seen as a results-oriented lawyer who handles some of the biggest and highest stakes cases in Pennsylvania. He's had a public impact as well: In the 90s he chaired the State Supreme Court's Domestic Relations Rules Committee, which modernized court rules including those involving spouse abuse (Husbands convicted of spousal abuse must now surrender their firearms, a rule Rasner says "didn't go over too well in a state with a large rural population and so many NRA members."). Still. Rasner says, "I've benefited from seeing the system as both a rule-maker and as a professional." Today Fox Rothschild's divorce practice is "very active," and Rasner maintains his own caseload - quietly and efficiently. "I make an effort to keep my name out of print: Most cases are private - and that's the way it should be." By his office door hangs an unlocked padlock, a symbolic gift from a happy client. He lives in downtown Philadelphia, within walking distance of his Market Street office, with his wife Caroline, an international craft consultant; they enjoy weekends at a farm in northeastern Pennsylvania.

David Rasner
"I'm not reluctant to take a case to court, but I'll always ask, do you want a third party making decisions that will effect you the rest of your life? I certainly wouldn't. Bottom line is that no one wants to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. We are always looking to take a constructive approach, always thinking out of the box. "