Phil Kirchner is a member of the firm's Litigation Department and a former managing shareholder of the firm and past chair of its Litigation Department. He focuses his practice in business litigation and in negotiating international supply, quality and other contracts for his manufacturing clients.
Mr. Kirchner concentrates his litigation practice on complex litigation of all types of business issues in both federal and state courts, primarily in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He has extensive experience representing public and private business entities and individuals in commercial litigation involving trial, arbitration, mediation, and appeals of various business disputes. Over the years, his matters have included contract disputes; insurance coverage claims; disputes among owners of closely held businesses ("business divorce"); employment disputes, including claims of breach of restrictive covenants; trademark infringement and theft of trade secret claims; claims under the state and federal securities laws; antitrust claims; and construction disputes. Mr. Kirchner also represents clients in estate and probate contests involving claims of undue influence, lack of capacity and breach of fiduciary duty. Mr. Kirchner also regularly advises his business clients on strategies for avoiding litigation and for insuring against losses from litigation claims.
While ushering clients through the litigation process for the bulk of his career, Mr. Kirchner developed significant experience in drafting and negotiating contracts. He now spends a significant amount of his time drafting and negotiating national and international Supply and Quality Agreements and other contracts for his clients in the manufacturing industry. In this capacity, he reviews, prepares, and negotiates effective and clearly defined contracts to protect client interests and limit future litigation exposure. His unique background as a trial lawyer helps him produce contracts for his clients that protect their business and legal interests. Many of his contracts involve customers in foreign countries, through which he has developed a special understanding of the complexities of international contracts, involving foreign cultures and laws. His understanding of these complexities helps him secure solid quality and supply agreements that transcend borders, advance his clients' business interests, and, at the same time, protect them in the event of a dispute.
Over the course of his career, Mr. Kirchner has handled a number of insurance coverage matters. He has exclusively represented policyholders in disputes with their carriers, both in court and out of court, and he has counseled his business clients in all aspects of insurance coverage, including their coverage needs. He has also negotiated numerous business contracts for his clients, in which the type, amount, and various details of the insurance coverage required for the deal were at issue. The types of insurance issues he has handled over the years have included property and casualty, construction, intellectual property, environmental, business automobile, personal injury, directors and officers, and cyber theft coverage disputes and questions about coverage.
In his capacity leading the firm's Restaurant & Hospitality Industry Group, Mr. Kirchner has represented his food service, restaurant, and hospitality clients, including the South Jersey Independent Restaurant Association (a/k/a the "SJ Hot Chefs"), in a variety of matters, including: contract litigation; contract negotiation, drafting and review; trademark and tradename litigation; theft of trade secret cases; enforcing, defending and challenging restrictive covenants in employment contracts; landlord-tenant disputes; and various government regulatory issues. He also regularly counsels and advises his clients on ways to avoid regulatory problems in such areas as wage and hour issues, tipping policies, sales taxes and employment withholding taxes, overtime pay and minimum wage.
Mr. Kirchner regularly litigates cases involving disputes over decedents' estates on both the plaintiffs' and defendants' side and also representing executors, trustees, and other fiduciaries. He has prevailed in 2 such cases before the New Jersey Supreme Court. In both cases, he represented a beneficiary accused of exerting undue influence against the decedent, and, in one case, the Supreme Court reversed an adverse ruling against his client making new law in New Jersey. In that case, he had not been involved in the trial but was hired by the defendant to pursue an appeal from an adverse judgment that included an award of significant attorney's fees and costs to the plaintiff. He convinced the New Jersey Supreme Court to reverse the award of attorney's fees, and, in so doing, created new law in New Jersey. The Supreme Court adopted his narrow bright line test for an award of attorney's fees in undue influence cases to clarify what had been an unsettled area of the law. In the second case, after 3 years of discovery, he secured an award of summary judgment dismissing claims against his client for lack of capacity and undue influence, and appointing her executor of her husband's estate. That decision was affirmed on appeal by both the New Jersey Appellate Division and the Supreme Court. Mr. Kirchner has presented seminars on a variety of substantive topics involving commercial litigation and on a number of litigation practice-related topics, including writing effective briefs, successful discovery techniques, litigating restrictive covenant claims, and the effective use of expert witnesses. He has chaired the Commercial Litigation Committee of the Camden County Bar Association for a number of years. He is also a former editor of New Jersey Lawyer magazine. Mr. Kirchner was a Legal Writing Instructor of first-year law students during his third year of law school. He continues his passion for effective legal writing by teaching seminars and running workshops at his firm on various writing topics. Prior to law school, Mr. Kirchner was a Dean of Students at several major US universities and colleges.
Firm Prospects attorney tracking launched in 2015/2016. Prior employment history currently unavailable.