David J. Porter

David J. Porter


Pittsburgh, PA

Congratulations to former Buchanan Shareholder David J. Porter, recently appointed to serve on the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. This is a tremendous honor, and we wish him the best in this next chapter.


David J. Porter's practice focuses on business litigation and counseling involving restrictive covenants and trade secrets, higher education, First Amendment and media law, copyright and trademark matters, shareholder and partnership disputes, banking and civil rights. He is the former co-chair of the firm's Higher Education Industry team.

David has handled hundreds of litigation matters, serving as lead counsel in jury trials, non-jury trials and arbitration proceedings throughout the United States. David also litigates matters involving constitutional issues, election law, and labor and employment agreements. He has been a court-appointed master and mediator by the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Among David's recent representations, he has:

  • Represented a state-related university in a federal lawsuit regarding intellectual property ownership rights.
  • Defended a private university against claims asserted by a former student who was dismissed from his program of study.
  • Negotiated an executive employment agreement in connection with a private college’s hire of a new president.
  • Defended a university spin-off company in a trade secret dispute with a competitor and related FBI investigation.
  • Represented an educational and charitable organization in litigation over a $500 million real estate development project.
  • Represented a state-related university in a contract dispute involving corporate-sponsored research and licensed technology. 2009 WL 5064481 (W.D. Pa. 2009).
  • Defended a university athletics coach in a civil rights action brought by a former player claiming race and sexual orientation discrimination.
  • Obtained judgment, affirmed on appeal by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, for the corporate general partner and its sole shareholder in an action seeking seven-figure recovery on a limited partnership's promissory note. 2009 WL 1565651 (W.D. Pa. 2009), affirmed, 2011 WL 730486 (3d Cir. 2011).
  • Defended a California corporation in securities litigation commenced in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah and obtained attorney's fees under California's anti-SLAPP statute. 2008 WL 619287 (D. Utah 2008).
  • Represented a national financial services company in a restrictive covenant dispute with a former employee/partner.
  • Served as lead counsel for a technology start-up company in trade secret litigation adverse to a former corporate officer.
  • On behalf of Gov. Ed Rendell, Sen. Arlen Specter and Sen. Rick Santorum, challenged the proposed deactivation of a Pennsylvania Air National Guard Unit as part of the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act process. 2005 WL 2050295 (E.D. Pa. 2005).
  • Represented a national coal distributor in a requirements contract dispute with a national coal supplier.
  • Represented a Mexican bond and insurance company in a letter of credit dispute in connection with international commercial transactions.
  • Defended the world's largest enterprise software company in breach of contract litigation.
  • Represented a top-10 cable company in multimillion-dollar commercial disputes relating to its acquisition of several cable systems and products.
  • Represented a political candidate in post-election litigation, resulting in the closest ever statewide margin of victory in Pennsylvania.
  • Defended a national book publisher and author in action brought by celebrity death-row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal who sought to enjoin publication of a book about his murder trial and appeals.
  • Represented The New York Times in a defamation case brought by a businessman claiming $54 million in damages.

David is an author and speaker on subjects ranging from enforcement of covenants not to compete, federal and civil litigation, advanced trial practice, intellectual property, trade secrets litigation and constitutional issues.

Nationally recognized in the legal industry, David has been named to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list from 2011 to 2017 and was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® list consecutively since 2015 in the Commercial Litigation category. He is also an elected member of the American Law Institute.

Before joining the firm in 1994, David served as law clerk to the Hon. D. Brooks Smith, currently of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.