Jon Campisi Nov. 19, 2013, 8:19am


The managing partner of a large Philadelphia law firm has passed away.

Guy Cellucci, who spent his entire 34-year legal career at the 230-lawyer firm White and Williams, which is headquartered in Philadelphia, died on Nov. 16 of an undisclosed cause, the law firm announced on its website.

He was 59 years old.

Cellucci, who served as the firm’s managing partner for the past three years, helped grow White and Williams in both size and scope.

“He had extraordinary positive energy and his unique ability to seize opportunities for the firm resulted in those opportunities becoming reality,” reads a firm news release.

Under Cellucci’s tenure, the law firm doubled its size in both its New York and Boston offices.

Andrew Susko, a partner at White and Williams and a former Pennsylvania Bar Association president, said Cellucci brought “professional excellence and integrity to everything he did for this firm and he will be deeply missed.”

Patricia Santelle, a partner at White and Williams who chairs the firm’s Commercial Litigation Department, said that to colleagues at his firm Cellucci was a “friend, mentor and partner in every sense of the word.

"He did not force his ideas on others, but listened to what they had to say and formulated a plan of action after forging consensus in a way that only a great leader can do,” Santelle said in a statement.

Cellucci started his legal career practicing general commercial litigation, but soon transformed into a specialist and leader in insurance coverage cases, especially those involving environmental liabilities, according to the law firm’s news release.

One of Cellucci’s first cases involved an insurance dispute between CIGNA and the Township of Jackson Landfill.

The case resulted in what the firm calls a landmark decision that involved a fear of cancer claims and medical monitoring.

Cellucci worked for more than 20 years on resolving issues concerning Gloucester Township’s GEMS Landfill in New Jersey, including the creative implementation of the first private party Superfund contribution procedure, the law firm stated.

“Guy’s career was one of remarkable success representing CIGNA and then ACE in insurance coverage matters for another three decades, trying numerous complex environmental insurance coverage cases to verdict,” the White and Williams news release states. “The cases he touched changed the insurance coverage landscape …”

One such recent case referenced by the law firm involved a landmark ruling before the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in favor of the insurance industry on the allocation of long-standing environmental pollution.

The law firm referred to Cellucci as a trusted advisor and counselor to clients who was well respected by colleagues and adversaries.

“Clients knew if they had a complex problem, they could call on Guy and he would offer some creative solution to best address the situation,” the news release states. “In resolving matters, whether in mediation or privately, Guy was about as creative as a lawyer could be.”

Cellucci’s mind was “quick,” the law firm said, most notably when it came to financial alternatives that led to a settlement.

Cellucci, a graduate of St. Joseph’s University and Georgetown Law School, became a partner at White and Williams in 1986.

He was one of the firm’s youngest partners.

He was tapped to chair the Commercial Litigation Department in 1999 and became chairman of the full firm 11 years later.

Cellucci was a Pennsylvania native.

“He was always willing to discuss anything that was on someone’s mind, personal or professional; he always made time,” Michael Olsan, a White and Williams partner who chairs the firm’s Reinsurance Practice Group, said in a statement. “He was like a big brother to me.”

Cellucci is survived by his wife, Bernadette, and his three children, Dan, Megan and Rob.

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