Joseph R. Lawrence

Shareholder
P:(412) 281-5423
F:(412) 281-8264
E:jlawrence@smgglaw.com

Biography

Joseph R. Lawrence, serves clients in the media, financial services, manufacturing, real estate and construction industries. His practice focuses on business restructurings, creditors’ rights, commercial litigation, real estate, banking, and bankruptcy.  He has served on Strassburger, McKenna, Gutnick & Gefsky’s Executive Committee and has served as one of its Managing Partners.

Mr. Lawrence has a unique approach to engagements and urges all attorneys in the firm to focus on planning and strategy before taking any action.  In planning and developing a strategy, he focuses intently on the strengths, weaknesses, tendencies and needs of not only his client, but also those of every party that is material to the engagement. Using this approach, Mr. Lawrence has been able to achieve success for his clients in almost all arenas of controversy from courtrooms and mediation tables to boardrooms and construction sites.  His skills in business advice are particularly well received as he has significant business experience that he draws upon to look at issues from a variety of perspectives in addition to just the “legal” viewpoint.

In the area of creditors’ rights, Mr. Lawrence helps financial institutions recover and manage troubled assets. The American Board of Certification has certified him as a Creditors’ Rights Specialist. He has experience with restructurings, workouts, bankruptcies, lender liability defense, regulatory matters, loan documentation, real estate transactions, mortgage foreclosures and asset recovery.  Mr. Lawrence has served as outside counsel for the federal government in workouts, real estate matters and foreclosures involving the Resolution Trust Corporation, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Department of Justice, Internal Revenue Service and Department of Agriculture.

In his commercial litigation practice, Mr. Lawrence represents plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts. He also represents commercial clients, including a large national coatings manufacturer, in collections and bond litigation. Landowners often retain Mr. Lawrence to represent them in oil and gas leasing disputes. Mr. Lawrence is a licensed title insurance agent and represents buyers, sellers, lenders and developers in real estate transactions.

Mr. Lawrence has delivered presentations on creditors’ rights, bankruptcy, real estate title issues, mortgage foreclosure and repossession before the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, National Business Institute and numerous title insurance companies. He has made more than 20 presentations to members of the lending, manufacturing and construction industries.

In his personal life, Mr. Lawrence, is active in the community and seeks to employ his skills to the benefit of the public.  He has served as the President of the Northside Leadership Conference and as President of one of its member community development organizations.  He has served as Chair of the Northside Community Development Fund and as Chair of the Committee for Troop 143 of the Boy Scouts of America.  He founded and served as Chair of Rox Performance Academy which is a non-profit corporation providing musical instruments and lessons to children.  He has been an active advocate for community development and devoted many pro-bono service hours to a variety of community organizations.

Certifications

  • Certified in creditors’ rights law by the American Board of Certification

Professional Affiliations

  • Allegheny County Bar Association
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Westmoreland County Bar Association

Recognition & Awards

  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyer 2012-2016

Education

  • J.D., University of Pittsburgh, 1992
  • B.S., finance, University of South Florida, 1988

Admissions

  • Pennsylvania, 1992
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Pennsylvania