Pullman's New Chair No Stranger To Leadership
Longtime commercial lawyer James T. Shearin has worked to build Pullman & Comley's Connecticut footprint over the past 18 years as a member of the firm's Executive Committee. Over the years, Bridgeport-based Pullman has branched out by adding offices in Hartford, Waterbury, Stamford and White Plains, N.Y.
Most recently, Pullman & Comley expanded its education law practice by hiring six lawyers in Hartford, while announcing plans to double its office space downtown by the end of the year.
Because of his experience managing the firm's growth with an eye on client relations, Shearin — who goes by Tim — has been named the firm's new chairman. He succeeds Robert Morris, who held the top management seat for two decades. Morris will remain on as a member of the Executive Committee and will continue to serve as leader of the Tax Section of the Business Organizations and Finance Department.
Morris said Shearin's promotion was part of a carefully planned succession of the firm's leadership. "Tim has been a leader for many years, not just at Pullman & Comley, but in the legal community and through his work with many non-profit organizations," Morris said. "The firm will be in great hands under Tim's direction."
With nearly 90 attorneys, Pullman & Comley is ranked No. 7 on the Law Tribune's list of the highest grossing firms in the state, with 2012 revenues of about $37 million. In addition to handling anti-trust and privacy matters on behalf of corporate clients, Shearin has most recently served as chair of the firm's litigation practice, overseeing the work of 10 lawyers who handle litigation for individuals, small businesses, large corporations and financial institutions. With the move to chair of the firm, Shearin will assume responsibility for all the practice areas. "When you are the chair, the buck stops on your desk," he said.
After Shearin graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1986, his first job was working as a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Peter C. Dorsey.
He joined Pullman in 1988, and worked his way into the firm's management structure by way of several litigation successes. He successfully defended one company from a civil lawsuit that accused it of $9 million in fraudulent Medicaid billing. In another case, Shearin fended off a $22 million antitrust claim.
"I will remain active in the management of the litigation practice, but I will no longer serve as its chair," Shearin said. "The demands of the two jobs are too significant to do them both."
Shearin has spent much of his career juggling multiple professional duties. He's donated time working outside the office, serving as vice president of the Connecticut Bar Foundation. Shearin has also held several leadership roles in the Connecticut Bar Association. Last year, he was appointed by Governor Dannel Malloy to serve on the Judicial Compensation Commission, which ultimately recommended pay raises for the state's judges.
Shearin said his work for Pullman has always come first. "Pullman & Comley is my home away from home and I am honored to succeed Rob Morris as chairman," he said. "I am proud of our firm's long and distinguished history and am committed to ensuring that we remain one of the region's premier firms."