Founder and Managing Member of Griesing Law, LLC
Fran knew from a very young age that education would become a big part of her life. Her father, a holocaust survivor, used to call her “The Judge” because she read so much. Witnessing the work ethic of her mom and dad who came from difficult backgrounds, she decided she would never waste opportunities that she was given, and continues today to give back.
To hear the full Women to Watch™ Media interview with Fran, listen below.
Francine Friedman Griesing is the founder and Managing Member of Griesing Law, LLC, a women-owned and operated law firm based in Philadelphia with satellite offices in New York and Cincinnati. In January 2010, during one of the roughest economic downturns across all sectors, Fran launched Griesing Law with only a handful of clients out of an 800 square foot sublet space. Today, the original three-person team has grown into a 20-plus person team, occupying over 8,000 square feet in a high-rise building in Center City Philadelphia. Her expanding team is licensed to practice law across the country, including California, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Fran is a valued, strategic advisor to top executives and general counsel at the region’s and country’s largest corporations and institutions. She has over 35 years of experience representing clients in complex business transactions, high stakes litigation and alternate dispute resolution matters and is prominent in the business and legal communities. Fran has grown the Firm from its initial client base to handling more than 800 matters for over 400 clients, including Fortune 500 companies, small and privately-held businesses, non-profits, government entities and individuals mainly in the hospitality, technology, financial services, chemical, pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries. She has successfully transitioned the Firm through the constantly evolving legal environment and refocused the Firm from primarily commercial litigation and ADR to now include corporate transactions and compliance, employment, family law, government and regulatory affairs, real estate, technology, trusts and estates and workers’ compensation. This fall, Griesing Law received the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Soaring 76 Award for being one of the fastest growing businesses in the Greater Philadelphia area.
Fran has been consistently recognized as a top practitioner by the most prestigious legal rankings organizations worldwide, including Chambers and Partners USA, Best Lawyers in America, Client Choice and Super Lawyers. Fran was also recently awarded Best of the Bar by the Philadelphia Business Journal for being one of the top lawyers in Philadelphia. Her additional honors include Women’s Enterprise Magazine Top WBE CEOs, Philly Biz Executives of the Year, Enterprising Women Magazine Enterprising Women of the Year, The Legal Intelligencer Women of the Year, American Bar Association Excellence in Legal Writing Award, Philadelphia Bar Association Excellence in Legal Education Award, Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business, Pennsylvania’s Honor Roll for Women, Philadelphia Business Journal Women of Distinction, Business Philadelphia Women to Watch and SmartCEO Brava! Leader and Legal Elite.
Fran is a highly-sought speaker, writer and respected authority locally and nationally in the legal and entrepreneurial communities where she frequently shares her expertise as an attorney and as a business owner. Fran has taught at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Drexel University Thomas Kline School of Law and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania on a variety of legal topics including business law, employment law, hospitality law, intellectual property, advocacy skills, law firm management and issues impacting female attorneys.
She has also presented numerous CLEs and done other educational speaking engagements at legal organizations and other industry-specific conferences and events on issues around ADR, litigation, hospitality, ethics, negotiation and business leadership. Most notably, Fran has spoken at The ABA Section of Litigation Annual Conference, The Annual Membership Meeting of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, The National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms Annual Business Meeting, The Pennsylvania Bar Institute, The Philadelphia Bar Association, The National Business Institute, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Philadelphia, The Forum of Executive Women, and Women Owned Law, among many others.
Her written work on similar topics has been published in the ABA’s Law Practice Today, Section of Litigation, and The Woman Advocate, The Legal Intelligencer, The Philadelphia Business Journal, and Hotel Business Review. Fran’s story on founding the firm was also included in the book, “The Road To Independence: 101 Women’s Journeys to Starting Their Own Law Firms”, published by the ABA. Through these various forms of thought leadership, Fran has shared her lessons learned over the course of her 35 year career with hundreds if not thousands of attorneys and other business professionals to help them succeed.
Prior to launching Griesing Law in 2010, Fran practiced law at top tier firms in New York and Philadelphia and also served as Chair of Litigation of Philadelphia’s City Solicitor’s Office under former Mayor Edward G. Rendell, who later served as Governor of Pennsylvania. As the City’s top trial lawyer, Griesing advised the Mayor, ranking administration officials and City Council on cutting-edge legal issues, supervising 75 lawyers plus staff, and overseeing outside counsel. As the City’s lead attorney on several high-profile matters, her experience extends to working with a diverse constituency and performing under intense public scrutiny.
Before launching Griesing Law, Fran realized there was an opportunity to build a different kind of law firm where attorneys, especially women, could be both happy and successful practicing law. The goal was to create an environment where attorneys didn’t have to fit into the traditional big firm model to succeed, especially if they were taking care of families or outside responsibilities. Historically when attorneys, especially women, started to have families and needed to take time off, there was a perception that they were not committed enough to their careers and even worse that they were not good lawyers. Her mission for Griesing Law was to break that mold and be a place where attorneys could attend to their personal needs and still have successful careers.
Over the past eight years, Griesing Law has become known for its unique and open culture, serving the needs of its diverse team of attorneys, the majority of which are women. Fran believes that the success of any one employee means overall greater success of the entire firm. Unlike traditional law firms, Griesing Law does not assign “origination credit” for bringing business to the Firm but attorneys work as a team on all client matters which allows for greater collaboration and deters intra office competition. It also assures that everyone on our team is invested in providing clients with personal service and achieving the best results. Everything we do at the Firm is to further Fran’s mission to provide the highest caliber of legal services economically while creating an environment where women do not have to choose between thriving in their careers and having a fulfilling personal life.
Throughout Fran’s legal career, she has often been one of a handful, if not the only, female attorney in the room. Upon noticing this trend in her various roles, she has continuously advocated for the inclusion and promotion of women attorneys as she strongly believes that a more diverse legal profession is a more successful one. With female leaders largely absent throughout her career, Fran aims to combat the forces that keep women out of leadership roles and from staying in the profession at all. She embodies this through the culture she created at Griesing Law, the long standing relationships she has built and maintained with other female attorneys from her previous positions, as well as her continuous commitment to institutions and organizations which aim to foster a more inclusive workforce within the legal field and beyond.
Fran is an active member of various professional organizations for female attorneys, including the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) and the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF), both which aim to build a diverse legal profession by fostering relationships between corporate in-house counsel and minority and women-owned law firms. The Firm was awarded NAMWOLF’s Law Firm MVP Award in 2013 as the law firm that has done the most to advance the organization’s mission. Griesing Law was the second firm in the organization’s then 12 year history to receive this accolade among 138 member law firms in 37 states. Fran was also responsible for bringing NAMWOLF’s 2014 annual meeting to Philadelphia, and she also co-chaired the retail restaurant and hospitality practice area committee for two years. She is also in the founders’ circle of Women Owned Law (WOL), a national networking group for women-owned law firms established in 2016 in Philadelphia. Fran frequently shares her lessons learned as a firm founder and female attorney with the extensive network of female founders and supporters at WOL. Fran also promotes the enhancement of women through her board positions and membership roles with the Forum of Executive Women and the Women’s Presidents Organization which support businesswomen by offering valuable programming and a network for the exchange of resources and referrals.
Anyone who knows or has interacted with Fran cannot deny her devotion and passion for the enhancement of women in the workplace. Fran has opened doors for countless professional women through mentoring and introductions. In the legal field, she has encouraged a number of women lawyers in private practice and in-house to negotiate or seek new opportunities in order to maximize their potential. Fran also counsels women in private practice about developing business and being successful in a firm environment. Fran identifies and offers opportunities for women lawyers to showcase their talents and skills, often counseling women lawyers in their employment searches, and using her contacts to help them obtain significant positions both in the public and private sectors. Fran has also helped put women on the track to attend law school. Furthermore, Fran has served as a mentor for women of all ages, across various industries and is always willing to meet with anyone who asks. She provides guidance and a shoulder to lean on, helping professional women navigate the workplace dynamics that impact them due to their gender. In addition, she has risked her own career by speaking out against discriminatory gender practices in the workplace. She continues this commitment though her leadership roles in women’s organizations, enhancing the networks of professional women and propelling them forward in their professional and personal endeavors.
It is hard to imagine a candidate more deserving of the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award than Fran Griesing. Fran exemplifies a strong, ambitious and compassionate female leader in not only what she says, but in her actions. In addition to being widely regarded as a litigator, arbitrator and mediator, she has been a champion for women both within and outside the legal field for over three decades, and has earned the respect and admiration of her male and female peers in the process. Fran embodies the phrase, “a rising tides lift all boats”, as both a colleague and leader who believes that helping and supporting others is the best method for success, which she has demonstrated throughout her career. Colleagues and friends of Fran describe her as “tenacious and bold, generous and supportive as a mentor and a leader” and “a woman lawyer who proactively supports and encourages other women lawyers to achieve success in their careers and their personal lives”. In addition to launching and growing her firm over the past eight years, Fran continues to set the groundwork for women in leadership as an attorney and as an entrepreneur, inspiring the next generation of women leaders to come.
For more information on Fran, check out the links below!