Martin Law Firm, a well-known firm across Pennsylvania that advocates for injured workers, has advanced into the midstate with the opening of a new office in East Pennsboro Township.
The Philadelphia-based law firm was started 40 years ago by George Martin, who founded it as a niche, boutique firm.
“Our principal practice is Pennsylvania workers’ compensation,” he said.
The firm also represents clients making short-term disability, federal Social Security and veterans’ Social Security claims, he said.
“If it’s a disability, we do that,” he said.
It has expanded over the years to include 17 attorneys across the state working in offices in Philadelphia, Reading, Malvern, Bristol, Allentown, and now, East Pennsboro Township.
The new office, located at 205 House Ave., Suite 3, opened in January and is staffed by Harrisburg-area attorney Steve Ryan.
“We have always covered hearings that were basically in the eastern third of the state. We found that our attorneys were traveling more and more to Lancaster, York, Harrisburg and the Susquehanna Valley,” Martin said.
Sending attorneys from the Philadelphia region was becoming time-consuming, he said.
“It made sense to hire a Harrisburg-centered attorney,” Martin said.
Ryan, who graduated from The City University of New York in Brooklyn in 2002 and the Susquehanna Township-based Widener University School of Law in 2007, began his legal career by defending employers against workers’ compensation claims as an attorney at Harrisburg-based Post & Schell.
However, by 2014, he was growing increasingly uncomfortable with his role in defending employers and found himself identifying more with employees.
“I came from a working-class background. My mom was a waitress and my dad was a sailor for a commercial company,” he said.
In 2014, he made the switch to defending claimants when he joined Susquehanna Township-based Frommer D’Amico law firm.
When the opportunity arose to join Martin Law Firm and remain in the midstate, Ryan said it didn’t take long to make a decision.
“They basically wrote the ‘bible’ on workers comp,” he said.
The legal ‘bible’ Ryan refers to it is the handbook on PA Workers’ Compensation Practice and Procedure, which Martin Law attorneys have co-authored and updated since the late 1980s, Martin said. The book is often required reading for law students, Ryan said.
Martin said that if the new law office is a success, there is a possibility that more attorneys will be added. However, the firm isn’t interested in expanding farther west than State College. Martin said he’d rather send those cases to firms they have well-established relationships with on the western side of the state.
“We certainly have more than enough work to keep one attorney busy in Harrisburg now. We’d like to add more attorneys to that office,” he said.
Despite the new locations, Martin said that he’s never had a desire for the firm to branch beyond its niche scope of workers’ compensation.
“We wanted to do one thing better than anybody else. Rather than trying to do a lot of things well, we wanted to do one area of the law exceptionally well. We pride ourselves on the quality of service we give in the disability field,” he said.