The story of Pryor Cashman’s nearly half-a-century history is one of consistent excellence, devoted service and determined entrepreneurship. The firm was founded in 1963 by Columbia Law School graduates Pete Pryor, Gideon Cashman and David Braun.
Pryor and Braun were experienced entertainment lawyers, representing clients in the music, publishing and motion picture industries. Cashman was a seasoned litigator, having distinguished himself in public service as a trial and appellate attorney, serving as associate counsel to the New York Waterfront Commission, a lieutenant in the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps and as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division in the Southern District of New York, where he was also Chief of Criminal Appeals.
The firm began as a boutique, representing entertainment clients in a wide variety of transactions and litigating for those clients and an increasingly broader spectrum of other clients. The practice also included expertise in copyright and unfair competition, general corporate counseling and largely civil litigation. Among the firm’s prominent clients were Duke Ellington, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, Neil Diamond, Petula Clark, Simon & Garfunkel, Faye Dunaway, The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Brothers Four, Allen Funt of Candid Camera fame, and Creative Management Associates, one of America’s top talent agencies.
In 1966, Paul Sherman joined the firm, having served as general counsel to the Motion Picture Corporation of America (MCA), known today as NBC Universal. Sherman brought to the firm a raft of superstar performers, including Buddy Hackett and Shelly Winters, further solidifying the firm’s reputation as a powerhouse in the entertainment field. In recognition of Sherman’s contribution, the firm name became Pryor, Braun, Cashman & Sherman.
During the next five years, the firm broadened and deepened its practice, moving toward its goal of becoming a full-service firm. By 1971, the firm of 16 lawyers had outgrown its offices and moved to 410 Park Avenue. In 1973, Braun left the firm and its name was changed to Pryor, Cashman & Sherman.
The decade of the 1970s witnessed continued growth. The firm grew to more than 30 lawyers and expanded to include corporate financing, securities and taxation services. In 1977, prominent business lawyer Richard Flynn joined the firm, which became Pryor, Cashman, Sherman & Flynn, a name it would keep for the next 30 years. The firm continued to represent superstar entertainment clients, including Tony Bennett, Paul Newman, Jerry Lewis, Olivia Newton-John and Rock Hudson.
During the 1980s, Pryor Cashman hit its stride as a full-service, general-practice firm. Ronald Shechtman, today the firm's Managing Partner, brought to the firm a significant labor and employment practice. During this period, a number of today’s practice group heads joined the firm, including Donald Zakarin (Litigation), Eric Hellige (Corporate), Larry Remmel (Banking and Finance), Eric Woldenberg (Tax) and Richard Kay (Trusts and Estates).
Pete Pryor stepped down as co-Managing Partner in 1985 and retired from the practice of law. Pryor moved to Denver, Colorado to be closer to his family, and remained there until his passing on October 23, 2008.
In 1985, Gideon Cashman became the sole Managing Partner and, during the next 20 years, guided the firm through its greatest period of development, presiding over the growth from 40 to over 100 lawyers, practicing everything from banking and bankruptcy to criminal defense and family law. The firm’s litigation and corporate practices each grew to more than 40 lawyers. Its real estate practice more than tripled, as leading real estate lawyers Ronald Kremnitzer, Wayne Heicklen and Todd Soloway joined the firm. The firm expanded its intellectual property expertise when Brad Rose joined the firm, developing a premier trademark and celebrity branding practice and representing music superstars.
In the first decade of this century, Pryor Cashman looked to the future with renewed vigor. Well established as a leading mid-sized law firm in New York, Pryor Cashman in 2003 added a Los Angeles office, headed by Karen Robson, who many years before had become the firm’s first female partner. In 2007, the firm filled one of the few gaps in its diverse range of expertise when Andrew Langsam, an experienced and well-regarded patent attorney, joined the firm.
In 2007, Ronald Shechtman assumed his current leadership position and Gideon Cashman continues to provide guidance as Chairman. To signal a commitment to continued growth and innovation while recognizing those who have made the firm what it is today, the firm was renamed Pryor Cashman LLP that same year. In July 2009, the firm moved to its current address at 7 Times Square.
As the decade drew to a close, Pryor Cashman expanded its family law practice, established a practice representing China-based companies, and developed a business immigration law practice.
Today, the firm boasts clients in virtually every business and from every walk of life. More importantly, is privileged to have a cadre of highly skilled lawyers with the expertise to tackle virtually any matter. Looking forward, Pryor Cashman intends to continue its measured, purposeful growth, fueled, as always, by a passionate commitment to excellence.
To read the firm's press releases concerning recent events in Pryor Cashman's history, please click here.