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Remembering Guy Cellucci

Attorney Guy Cellucci, the managing partner of White and Williams LLP, passed away suddenly on November 16

November 18, 2013

Attorney Guy Cellucci, the managing partner of White and Williams LLP, passed away suddenly on November 16. He was the leader of the 230 attorney law firm, headquartered in Philadelphia, for the past three years. Due to his vision, the firm grew not only in size, but in breadth and the strength of the services it provided to its clients. He had extraordinary positive energy and his unique ability to seize opportunities for the firm resulted in those opportunities becoming reality. Expanding the law firm's presence in the northeast region, the firm's size doubled in both the New York City and Boston offices. Partner, Chair of the Commercial Litigation Department and close friend, Patricia Santelle, remembers, "He did not force his ideas on others, but listened to what they had to say and formulated a plan of action after forging consensus in a way that only a great leader can do."  To his colleagues at the firm "he was a friend, mentor and partner in every sense of the word," Santelle said. Former Pennsylvania Bar Association President and partner, Andrew Susko, said about Cellucci, "He brought professional excellence and integrity to everything he did for this firm and he will be deeply missed."

He started with the firm out of law school and recently celebrated his 34th anniversary, having spent his entire legal career there. While he began his career practicing general commercial litigation, he quickly became a specialist and leader in insurance coverage cases particularly those involving environmental liabilities. One of his first cases involved the Township of Jackson Landfill in which he successfully represented CIGNA, leading to a landmark decision that involved fear of cancer claims and medical monitoring. He devoted over two decades of his professional energies to resolving issues concerning the Township of Gloucester/GEMS Landfill, including the creative implementation of the first private party Superfund contribution procedure.

Guy’s career was one of remarkable success representing CIGNA and then ACE in insurance coverage matters for another three decades, trying numerous complex environmental insurance coverage cases to verdict. The cases he touched changed the insurance coverage landscape, including one of his most recent successes before the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, where a landmark ruling in favor of the insurance industry on the allocation of long-standing environmental pollution was issued by the Court.

His successes on behalf of clients were not limited to the courtroom. He was a trusted advisor and counselor to his clients and well respected by his co-counsel and adversaries. Clients knew if they had a complex problem, they could call on Guy and he would offer some creative solution to best address the situation. In resolving matters, whether in mediation or privately, Guy was about as creative as a lawyer could be. He was able to devise solutions that no one else in a room of great lawyers had thought about. His mind was quick, especially when it came to financial alternatives that led to a settlement, often leaving others to just nod along. 

Guy put himself through college working at the Breyer’s Ice Cream Factory and was a proud 1976 graduate of St. Joseph’s University and 1979 graduate of Georgetown Law School. He became a partner at the firm in 1986, one of the firm’s youngest partners. In 1999 he became Chair of the Commercial Litigation Department and, in 2010, he became Chair of the Firm.  Notwithstanding his rise in leadership, Guy always had an open door. He would strategize on cases even if he was not involved in them and would mentor younger attorneys. “He was always willing to discuss anything that was on someone’s mind, personal or professional; he always made time," said Michael Olsan, Partner and Chair of the Reinsurance Practice Group. "He was like a big brother to me," Olsan commented.

As important as his “firm family” was to him, it paled in comparison to his real family. His wife Bernadette meant the world to him and he never tired of talking with anyone who would listen about his three children, Dan, Megan and Rob. He always commented how lucky he was to have such an understanding family who let him work guiltlessly the long hours he did to achieve the success he had. In addition to his wife and three children, Guy is survived by his parents, Guy and Lucille, brother, Chris, and two sisters Donna Collin and Susan Chambers. Outside of work, Guy enjoyed spending time in Avalon, golfing whenever possible, and was an avid Eagles and Penn State football fan. Guy supported LaSalle Academy and was affiliated with St. Patrick’s Church.

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