Opening Doors

Kassem Lucas isn’t just kind to old ladies

Published in 2007 Pennsylvania Rising Stars — December 2007

The young Kassem Lucas could only dream of having a mentor like the Kassem Lucas of today. “I saw a lot of hopelessness, despair and negativity growing up in the Bronx,” says the 36-year-old commercial litigator at Pepper Hamilton. “I once saw a dead body in the elevator in my building.”

His mother did the best she could, but she was only 16 when she had him and didn’t get much help from her husband, who died of a drug overdose when Lucas was 4. It forced him to grow up quickly. “My grandparents and my mom were a support system, and I thought ahead,” Lucas says. “Now I like opening the door for others.”

Does he ever. He sits on the board of the George School, the prep school in Newtown that he attended on a scholarship and that launched him to college at Yale and law school at Temple. He’s on the board at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia. He is vice chair of his firm’s diversity committee. He handles pro bono child custody and child support cases. And he helps coach the Franklin Learning Center’s mock trial team, which has made the state tournament two out of the last three years. 

For his devotion, he received the 2006 Craig M. Perry Community Service Award from the Philadelphia Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. “I always knew I wanted to be both a teacher and a lawyer—I like helping kids, particularly those from areas like mine,” Lucas says. “It helps to show people that they have options and can succeed. That’s really the only way to make things better.”  

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