Rainmaker and Trailblazer

Nina M. Gussack ’79 (top center) pictured with fellow Pepper Hamilton attorneys

Nina M. Gussack, VLS '79 (top center) pictured with fellow Pepper Hamilton Attorneys

Villanova University School of Law alumnus Nina M. Gussack ‘79 (pictured with fellow Pepper Hamilton attorneys) is a rainmaker and a trailblazer. Gussack is known nationally as an expert pharmaceutical litigator. She made history in 2007 when she was elected Chair of Pepper Hamilton’s Executive Committee, the first woman in the firm’s history to hold that position—and one of the few women chief executives of a major law firm in the country. For nearly six years, Gussack juggled both her practice and management duties. Now that her term as Chair is over, she will continue leading the firm’s Health Effects Litigation Practice Group and will focus full time on her significant practice.

A native of New Rochelle, N.Y., Gussack came to Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania and remained in the area to attend VLS. A law school seminar first piqued her interest in pharmaceutical litigation, which she saw as the perfect marriage of her interests in law and medicine.

Gussack first worked at Pepper Hamilton in 1978 as a summer associate. She officially joined the firm in 1979 after graduating from VLS, and made partner in 1987.

She has many VLS alumni colleagues at Pepper Hamilton, including former executive partner Robert Heideck ’78, who, for ten years, handled the day-to-day management of the firm while she concentrated on strategic initiatives.  “A Villanova Law degree is great preparation for whatever kind of law you want to practice,” said Gussack. “At Pepper, we have terrific Villanova lawyers at all levels and in all practice areas.”