By Denise Clay
ABOVE PHOTO: (FROM LEFT) Kevin Mincey, Stacy Shields, Adrian Moody and Tom Fitzpatrick, partners in the firm Moody, Shields, Mincey and Fitzpatrick.
Among the things that Philadelphia is known for other than cheese steaks, soft pretzels, and football fans that belong in an insane asylum, are lawyers.
The term “Philadelphia Lawyer”, used to describe the hard-charging, aggressive attorneys that populate the city’s law firms, is one that legal practitioners around the country respect and in many cases aspire to. Law firms like Pepper Hamilton and Ballard, Spahr, and Morgan, Lewis and Bockius combine a combination of legal knowledge and knowledge of the system to help their clients.
But while Philadelphia had African American attorneys, there weren’t very many African American-owned law firms, according to Adrian Moody. Moody, who had been operating his own small law firm since 1981 and has served as a mentor to young lawyers in Philadelphia since that time, was hoping to see that reality change.
“It’s been a goal of mine for a number of years to get a group of like minded people together to do some legal business,” he said. “I wanted to work with a group of young people who were able to accept new ideas so that we could take the practice where it belonged.”
Moody has gotten his wish. By joining forces with Stacy Shields, a lawyer with 15 years experience, Kevin Mincey, president of the Barristers, and Thomas Fitzpatrick, a former judicial candidate who like Mincey had worked in the District Attorney’s Office, the firm Moody, Shields, Mincey and Fitzpatrick has formed.
In addition to the four partners in the law firm, which is located at 1613 Spruce St., there are four attorneys considered “of-counsel”, and one associate, make up the firm, Moody said.
“We have a good group,” he said.
Although law firms are having a tough time these days, the partners of Moody, Shields, Mincey and Fitzpatrick felt that now was the time for a new, African American owned law firm to come into the city and compete for business, according to Kevin Mincey.
“We were of like minds and felt that the time was right to come together,” Mincey said. “It made sense to pull our resources so that everyone could be successful.”
“The common denominator is that you can’t do it by yourself,” Moody said. “It’s helpful to have others to bounce ideas off of.”
The firm is a full-service operation that will take on cases ranging from civil rights cases, to family law, Moody said. Since opening, the firm has taken up the case of African American entrepreneurs seeking city contracts, and the Commonwealth’s new Voter ID law.
That these particular subjects are in the firm’s portfolio is no accident, Mincey said.
“To me, taking on things like this was a definite impetus,” he said. “As one of the few African American firms, we can relate to some of the problems that our can relate more to some of the problems that our clients face and provide them with good quality legal services.”