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Joseph A. Dougherty

Joseph A. Dougherty

Chairman and CEO

Philadelphia, PA

Joseph Dougherty is Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney's Chairman and CEO.

He previously served as chair of the Firm's Advisory Committee, Managing Shareholder of the Philadelphia office and chair of the Firm's Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants practice group.

How Joe Helps Clients

As the firm’s Chairman of the Board and CEO, Joe’s number one mission is to maintain and expand the firm’s readiness to address the needs of the firm and its clients. This includes ensuring that clients receive the highest quality legal services, at the best value, and that the firm’s rigorous client service standards are satisfied. Joe is also responsible for the execution of the firm's strategic plan, which includes growing the firm, hiring the best and brightest lawyers, instilling a high-performance culture, effectively counseling clients and continually advocating for the firm’s “clients-first” approach. In addition, Joe champions both the firm's diversity and inclusion efforts and its emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility. 

As a nationally recognized litigator, Joe’s practice primarily focuses on assisting clients with post-employment disputes, often involving the enforcement and defense of employment agreements, restrictive covenants, trade secrets, and the protection of competitively sensitive business information. Joe has litigated more than 600 employee defection and recruitment cases across the country, ranging from a single employee to multiple employee defection “raiding claims” in a variety of industries. Many of these cases required emergency applications for injunctive relief, as well as subsequent damages claims, computer forensics, and claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

As the CEO of one of the nation’s finest law firms, I wake up every day with a clear focus on how we can best achieve the success for each and every client, our attorneys and the firm as a whole.

Joe's practice also includes counseling companies and individuals on the protection of trade secrets and the legal and business issues surrounding the recruiting and departure of key employees. He is adept at both drafting and counseling issues arising from executive employment agreements and corporate trade secret protection programs.

Acknowledged Leadership

With decades of experience litigating commercial and employment-related matters, Joe has been named to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list consecutively since 2005, and recognized in the Corporate Counsel Super Lawyers list for a number of years. He was also selected as one of the Philadelphia Business Journal's Most Admired CEOs in 2019. Joe was named among City and State PA’s Law Power 100 in 2022 and 2023.

What Clients Can Expect

Clients depend on Joe’s clear understanding of their business' concerns and challenges to shape the practical advice and achievable strategies he provides. He is known for his holistic approach to their business disputes and obtaining the results clients need. Joe’s philosophy is simple: Anticipate the client's needs, and treat the client's business as if it were your own. Joe’s clients know that “This is the guy you want by your side.”

Outside the Office

Active in many civic and charitable organizations, Joe serves on the Executive Board of the Satell Institute and as a trustee of the Heinz History Center. In addition, he serves as a member of the CEO Council for Growth of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Legal Society. Joe is also active in his church and a number of youth sports and academic organizations.

Proof Points

  • Successfully defended a series of high stakes, hard fought litigation battles across the country following a corporate acquisition. The acquirer tried to prevent a third company from hiring employees who did not wish to remain with the new company. We had an undefeated string of wins for the company that successfully hired a large number of those employees, spanning over a five-year time period.
  • Advised a major regional bank on improving its strategies and protocol for protecting its customer and proprietary information, including development of enhanced employment agreements, confidentiality agreements and privacy policies.
  • Defeated an international financial institution's attempts to enjoin a former employee from working for a competing firm, resulting in denial of attempt to get a temporary restraining order and ultimate dismissal of the state court action.
  • Defended a major Wall Street investment bank against unfair competition claims related to the hiring of multiple sales traders from a competitor's fixed income division.
  • Drafted new restrictive covenants for a marketing and promotions firms and designed new procedures and policies to safeguard internal customer information and contact database software and systems.
  • Obtained permanent injunctive relief in state court restraining a former employee from competing in the telecommunications industry.