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Patrick C. Dunican Jr.

Patrick C. Dunican Jr.

Chairman and Managing Director of the Firm
Director, Commercial & Criminal Litigation

Mr. Dunican is a nationally recognized law firm leader who has been highlighted by Law360 as one of the nation’s most innovative managing partners. He was elected Managing Director of Gibbons in 2004, at the age of 36, and has since led the firm’s growth into a major Mid-Atlantic regional powerhouse. He accomplished this by establishing a corporate management model and implementing innovations to advance Gibbons as a standard-setting 21st century law firm, supported by state-of-the-art facilities and technology, streamlined expenses, and an outstanding management team to execute, evaluate, and refine these policies and platforms.

As a result of his many achievements, New Jersey Law Journal has honored Mr. Dunican twice in recent years, with a “Trailblazer” Award for his unique foresight regarding comprehensive emergency planning, which enabled him to lead a particularly well-prepared firm through unprecedented business conditions during the COVID-19 crisis; and designation as one of the state’s “Distinguished Leaders” in the legal industry. He is one of a select few business leaders to be named to the annual NJBIZ “Power 100” list of the most influential people in New Jersey business every year it has been published. He similarly has appeared on the “Influencers Power List” of the most influential people in New Jersey business each year ROI-NJ has published that feature.

A regular Irish Legal 100 honoree, Mr. Dunican received a 2019 Tip O’Neill Award from the Donegal County (Ireland) Council, presented annually to people of Irish background in recognition of achievements in their chosen fields and their interest in and support for Ireland and its diaspora. In 2017, he was the Essex County Bar Association’s selection for a Professional Lawyer of the Year award, presented by the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law in conjunction with bar associations throughout the state.

Areas of Focus

Law Firm Management

Mr. Dunican’s seminal innovation as Chairman and Managing Director was identifying a market niche—handling major matters for mid-market companies and mid-market matters for major companies, particularly on the East Coast—that allows Gibbons to remain at roughly 200 attorneys, contrary to longstanding dual industry trends of consolidation and boutique practice. He focused Gibbons around its core strengths, without adding practices or attorneys that do not complement those strengths. This business model allows Gibbons to focus on its most profitable work, maintain competitive rates, and maximize internal efficiencies.

Mr. Dunican has implemented internal programs and technologies designed to enhance firm attorneys’ market, industry, and legal insight, to anticipate new opportunities and challenges that might present themselves to clients. He works with practice group leaders to expand and innovate services geared to the continually evolving legal marketplace and emergent business needs. As a result, Gibbons has realized significant growth under his leadership, joining the Am Law 200 in 2007. Gibbons is now a “go-to” law firm in New Jersey for public and private sector clients engaging in matters with statewide, regional, and national implications, helping to execute some of the most significant corporate and real estate transactions, lobbying initiatives, and wide-ranging litigations in the area. Gibbons was one of only 20 firms nationwide to be named to The National Law Journal‘s inaugural “Midsize Hot List” and has been featured by Law360 as a “New Jersey Powerhouse” at various points throughout the series’ publication.

Mr. Dunican’s focus on marketing and branding initiatives earned Gibbons the distinction of being the only law firm featured in Steve Adubato’s book, You Are the Brand.

Community Outreach and Corporate Social Responsibility

Mr. Dunican’s commitment to philanthropic and civic engagement is best illustrated by recent joint endeavors of the Gibbons Cares community outreach and charitable giving platform and the Gibbons Diversity Initiative (GDI), which he fostered and helped guide to fruition. Gibbons Cares and GDI combined forces to more robustly observe 2020 Black History Month and Juneteenth with firm-wide commemorations and diversity-related programming and outreach, including (i) a week-long fundraiser for the Newark Fresh Air Fund during which employees donated over $40,000 to help make up resources the Fund would otherwise have received from the “Battle of the Barristers” charity softball tournament, which had been canceled due to COVID-19; and (ii) a pro bono partnership with the “Small Businesses Need Us” initiative of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, which assists women and minority small business owners impacted by the pandemic.

More broadly, Mr. Dunican has nurtured the growth of both GDI and the Gibbons Women’s Initiative (GWI) throughout his tenure, focusing these programs on recruitment, training and development, retention, and promotion of a diverse workforce at Gibbons; thought leadership, professional association engagement, and participation in pipeline programs throughout the legal and business communities; community service; and a supplier diversity program to create opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses. He appointed the firm’s first Chief Diversity Officer in 2007.

Under Mr. Dunican’s direction, Gibbons has proven to be an exemplary corporate citizen and employer through other initiatives he has launched or advanced, including the “Gibbons Experience,” an extensive and generous benefits package for all employees; “Gibbons Cares,” the aforementioned outreach program through which the firm annually donates more than $1 million and extensive pro bono and volunteer services; the “Gibbons Academy” and “Gibbons Leadership Academy” internal training and mentoring programs for attorneys; and the “Gibbons Goes Green” sustainability and environmental awareness program. As a result, the firm’s charitable, community outreach, and employee satisfaction programs have earned extensive accolades, most recently from the New Jersey State Bar Association, New Jersey Business & Industry Association, Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey, Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, Community Health Law Project, Great Place to Work, Diversity & Flexibility Alliance, Catalyst, Vault, Law360, New Jersey Monthly, NJBIZ, Working Mother, Profiles In Diversity Journal, MultiCultural Law, Minority Law Journal, and New Jersey Law Journal.

On a more personal level, in 2013, Mr. Dunican served as the Grand Marshal of the Newark St. Patrick’s Day Parade, raising more money for more charities than ever before in the parade’s 78-year history. He is also a founding member of the Irish American Bar Association of New Jersey and is on the Board of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Higher Education

In May 2020, Mr. Dunican was elected the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Iona College, his alma mater. He has served in various capacities on the college’s Board of Legal Trustees since 2013, including Vice Chair of its Executive Committee, Chair of its Audit Compliance and Risk Committee, and member of its Academic Committee and Committee on Trustees/Governance. Mr. Dunican previously served on the Planning Committee for the 25th Reunion of the Class of 1988. Iona has honored him with its 2013 Legacy Award and 2008 Loftus Award.

In addition to his longstanding work with Iona College, Mr. Dunican remains active with Seton Hall University School of Law, where he earned his J.D. in 1991, serving as a past Chair of its Board of Visitors and Co-Chair of its Strategic Planning Committee. He previously co-chaired the Seton Hall Law Rising fundraising campaign, which exceeded its $25 million goal. During his tenure as Chairman and Managing Director, Gibbons endowed $1 million to Seton Hall Law to establish the Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology, to provide funding to assist the law school in educating and training the next generation of attorneys in the technology and scientific communities. Seton Hall Law recognized Mr. Dunican with its 2011 distinguished alumnus award and its 2015 Saint Thomas More Medal.

Mr. Dunican also serves as a Trustee of the Independent College Fund of New Jersey (ICFNJ), a nonprofit initiative of corporate and academic leaders established to help its 14 member institutions – independent colleges and universities throughout the state – find corporate and philanthropic partners to secure critical financial support and fulfill their mission to educate all qualified students. He has been featured by ROI-NJ, a weekly newspaper covering business in New Jersey, in its inaugural “Higher Education Influencers” list, in the “Key Contributors: Business Partners” category, as well as The Irish Voice, on its Irish Education 100 list of the country’s most influential professionals of Irish descent involved in higher education.

At Gibbons, Mr. Dunican is a member of the Higher Education industry team, which he helped launch in order to address the many unique regulations governing academic institutions, a key segment of the firm’s client base and a substantial component of the New Jersey economy and its research and development environment.

Commercial Litigation

A litigation attorney and member of the firm’s Commercial & Criminal Litigation Group, Mr. Dunican is listed in both New Jersey and New York Super Lawyers for business litigation and in Best Lawyers® for commercial litigation. His legal practice focuses on broad commercial litigation, securities litigation, and litigation involved in public/private infrastructure projects.

Credentials

Education

Seton Hall University School of Law (J.D., cum laude)

  • Editor-in-Chief, Seton Hall Law Review, 1990-1991

Iona College (B.A.)

Professional Admissions

State of New Jersey

State of New York

District of Columbia

United States District Court for the District of New Jersey

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

United States District Court for the Northern District of New York

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York

United States District Court for the Western District of New York

Supreme Court of the United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Professional Activities

Iona College Board of Legal Trustees
Chair, 2020 – present
Trustee, 2013 – present

Seton Hall University School of Law
Chair, Board of Visitors, 2013-2016
Vice Chair, 2009-2013

New Jersey State Bar Foundation
Second Vice President, 2012-2014
Treasurer, 2011-2012
Secretary, 2009-2011
Trustee, 2007-2009

Independent College Fund of New Jersey
Trustee, 2017 – present

New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Board of Directors
Council of Trustees

Irish American Bar Association
Founding Member

The Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey
Trustee

Best Lawyers Advisory Board

New York State Bar Association

Bar Association of the City of New York

American Bar Association

New Jersey State Bar Association

Essex County Bar Association

Association of the Federal Bar for the District of New Jersey

American Bar Foundation
Fellow

Judicial Clerkship(s)

Law clerk to the Honorable Clarkson S. Fisher, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey