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Pittsburgh Lawyer Thompson to Receive Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association Business Law Section


HARRISBURG (Oct. 29, 2014) – The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Business Law Section will present its third annual W. Edward Sell Business Lawyer Award to Thomas M. Thompson, shareholder, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, Pittsburgh, for his extraordinary contribution to the practice of business law in Pennsylvania.

The late W. Edward Sell was a driving force behind the enactment of business corporation law in Pennsylvania. Sell served as chair of the Title 15 Task Force of the PBA Corporation, Banking and Business Law Section. From 1966 to 1977, Sell was dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He was then appointed Distinguished Service Professor of Law, a position he held until assuming emeritus status in 1994.

The recipient of the Sell Business Lawyer Award must have contributed to the practice of business law at the highest level, either through the practice of law or through teaching; must have contributed to the statutory development of business law in Pennsylvania; and must have contributed to the PBA by working in leadership roles in the Business Law Section.

With more than 40 years of legal experience, Thompson works primarily in the areas of corporate acquisitions, private placements and public offerings of securities, and venture capital financings. Thompson was one of the key legal advisors to the mayor and the City of Pittsburgh during negotiations to keep the Pittsburgh Pirates in the city and during the deal to sell and reorganize the bankrupt Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team to National Hockey League superstar Mario Lemieux.

Active in the organized bar, Thompson is a past chair of the PBA Business Law Section and past chair of the Project on Third-Party Legal Opinions for the PBA House of Delegates. He also is a past chair of the Allegheny County Bar Association Business Law Section. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Allegheny County Bar Foundation.

Thompson is a founding board member and past chair of the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account Board, a not-for-profit organization operating under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania that provides civil legal services to the poor and disadvantaged. He is past chair and director of the Neighborhood Legal Services Association, a nonprofit, public interest law firm providing free civil legal services to low-income, elderly and abused individuals in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties.

Thompson has written extensively about letters of intent, mergers and acquisitions and opinion letters. He recently authored the chapter on business acquisitions for Legal Opinions in Business Transactions published by the Practicing Law Institute.

For 15 years, Thompson was an adjunct professor of law for corporate acquisitions at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Thompson is emeritus trustee and counsel for the Pittsburgh Public Theater. He served as chair of the theater’s 25th annual fund campaign.

Thompson is a recipient of a Grove City College Alumni Achievement Award.

Thompson will accept the Sell Business Lawyer Award on Nov. 12 during the kick-off ceremony of the two-day Business Law Institute to be held at The CLE Conference Center in the Wanamaker Building, Philadelphia. More information about the institute is available at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s website at www.pbi.org.

The PBA Business Law Section consists of approximately 1,300 licensed Pennsylvania lawyers supporting the advancement of business practice through practical legal education, legislative drafting, and communication and networking within the bar.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 27,000 lawyers who are members of the association.