MyPhillyLawyer Attorney Profiles: Frank Breitman, 30 years of legal experience in personal injury, criminal cases,real estate and more
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on February 3rd, 2011
When Frank Breitman joined MyPhillyLawyer in January of 2007, he had already covered the waterfront in the practice of law.
In his diverse career, he’s worked in a public defender’s office and has handled tax cases, real estate matters, civil cases, collection cases and just about everything in between.
But the work that really gets his legal juices flowing is representing clients in personal injury cases and helping them get their lives back on track after devastating injuries.
His passion for the law and for helping his clients began with his first exposure to the courtroom as a summer intern in the Philadelphia Public Defender’s Office during his first year of law school at Boston University School of Law.
Breitman returned to his hometown of Philadelphia for the internship and dove right in.
“I fell in love with the rush of the court and working with clients,” he said. “There is no better job than public defense work for a young lawyer. It’s total thinking on your feet. You get 50 to 60 cases a day and you never know what’s going to happen.”
Those feelings of passion he has for his work, for caring for his clients and their diverse cases, continues today in his work at MyPhillyLawyer.
“In a criminal case, the defendant is going to go to jail if we lose, so that’s a lot of stress,” Breitman said. “In a personal injury case or civil case, my client’s financial future and ongoing quality of life is in my hands. For me, I take it all personally because I’m the one who is standing there with the client.”
That compassion and dedication has been honed through three decades of practicing law with a host of other attorneys who have mentored him and displayed that same drive and determination, he said.
Born in the Philadelphia suburb of Bala Cynwood, Breitman attended public schools through 8th grade and graduated from Friends’ Central High School. His father was a doctor – a general practitioner and a pharmacist – who had an office at Broad and Erie streets. As a boy, his dad would take him on house calls to see patients, giving him lasting impressions about caring for others.
Just as Breitman was about to finish high school and enter college, his father died suddenly. It was then that Breitman decided he wanted to become a lawyer and work to help others as his dad had done before him.
Breitman even signed his high school yearbook, “Frank Breitman, Esquire” – long before he earned his law degree. He had his calling and he would not be stopped.
Breitman went on to the University of Pennsylvania where he studied Chinese and earned two degrees in 1977 – a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the Wharton School and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Oriental Studies from the College of Arts and Sciences.
One year later, Breitman received his Masters’ of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Oriental Studies.
He received his Juris Doctor from Boston University School of Law in 1981.
Breitman is currently admitted to the Bars of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, The United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States.
He was in private practice for 18 years before joining MyPhillyLawyer.
“When I was younger, like others at the time in the late 1960s, I wanted to grow up and be James Bond,” Breitman said. “I wanted to be a spy.”
He even applied to the CIA after he inquired and learned that the legal career he wanted to pursue could be a good track into the agency.
Eventually Breitman learned that working closely with clients on their cases and helping them in the courtroom was what made him happy and satisfied.
His dreams of becoming a spy dissipated. “It was just something that never worked out,” he said.
Has there been one legal case that has had its greatest impact on his work as an attorney?
That one, Breitman said, would be the one involving the family of a longtime client some 10 years ago.
It was a Memorial Day weekend. His client’s brother was driving a car southbound on I-95 near Philadelphia when a northbound tractor-trailer pulling a tanker of petroleum went out of control and flipped over the median, smashing into the man’s car, killing him instantly. The heat from the flaming petrol was so severe that I-95 was heavily damaged and was closed for about a month while road workers repaired the busy highway.
“I got a call from my client,” Breitman said. “It was his brother in the crash. They asked me to represent the estate. I was dealing intimately with the law, the trucking company, the state Department of Transportation due to the damage to the highway, and with the grieving families. That changed my outlook and made me realize how much was at stake for my clients. That case was honest and real, there was no question. I was up against huge firms that had unlimited resources. And I won the case for my clients.”
Breitman has been married to his wife, Carla, for 28 years. They have three children.
He’s an avid woodworker and has built many pieces of carefully crafter furniture. He’s also a devoted gardener who grows flowers, vegetables and rare Japanese cut leaf maple trees. He also enjoys fixing up his house, combing for antiques and is a voracious reader, consuming at least one to two thrillers and mysteries each week.