July 8, 1941 – March 12, 2021
John Michael Elliott, founder of the firm, passed suddenly on March 12, 2021. He was 79 years old. Born in Girardville, PA in the heart of Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region on July 8, 1941, he was a proud son of Schuylkill County, where his grandfather and great grandfather, an Irish immigrant, worked in the mines. Mr. Elliott founded his own law firm, Elliott Greenleaf, with offices in Blue Bell, Harrisburg, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Wilmington, DE.
John graduated magna cum laude from St. Vincent College in 1963, and was a four-year starter on its varsity baseball team. He was elected into that college’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He attended Georgetown University Law Center and was honored there as a Williston Research Fellow. After graduation, he joined the Dilworth Paxson law firm in Philadelphia, PA and co-chaired its litigation department. In 1986, John started his own law firm, which is currently known as Elliott Greenleaf, P.C. John successfully represented a variety of major corporate and municipal clients including Fortune 500 companies, family businesses, and individuals. In 1979, he secured a posthumous pardon from Pennsylvania Governor Milton Shapp for Jack Kehoe, who was hung in 1878 as one of the Molly Maguires. John’s dedication to Jack Kehoe’s cause reflected his enduring belief in the rights of workers. His many legal victories include securing relief against Inside Edition for its intrusive reporting on the family of the founder of U.S. Healthcare, and securing what was then the largest single plaintiff age discrimination verdict ever awarded out of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Known as a fierce litigator who successfully tried and argued numerous complex commercial cases in trial and appellate courts throughout Pennsylvania and around the country, his legal career was simultaneously committed to public service. He was a former Chairman of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. He was appointed by the United States Secretary of State to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Conferences on the Human Dimension in Paris and on Democratic Institutions in Oslo. He also served as a member of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, as a Commissioner on the Delaware River Port Authority and on the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board. He was a Presidential appointee to the White House Coal Advisory Commission. He was a leader on several boards and committees of the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar Associations, and a frequent faculty member and lecturer for the American Law Institute, the American, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar Associations, the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. He was honored in 2015 as the Legal Intelligencer Attorney of the Year.