May 9, 2024 - News

Scoop: Prominent Philly lawyer charged in shooting

Illustration of crime scene tape reading CRIME SCENE and DO NOT CROSS over a dark background.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The owner of a prominent Philadelphia law firm is charged with shooting a man near a downtown cigar bar late last year, per court records obtained by Axios.

The big picture: The criminal case against Leonard Keith Hill, founder of Hill & Associates, could impact his ability to practice law in Pennsylvania regardless of whether he's convicted.

State of play: Hill was captured on surveillance cameras opening fire and wounding a man near a Walnut Street cigar bar in September, per the criminal complaint. He faces charges including aggravated assault, a weapons offense and tampering with evidence.

  • The victim told police shots were fired during a verbal altercation with two men after leaving the bar. Police say surveillance footage shows Hill firing once when confronted and a second time while the victim was running away, per the complaint.

According to the complaint, Hill fled to his car after the shooting and changed clothes before police officers arrived in the area. He left without speaking to police.

  • The bar manager, a friend of Hill's, helped police identify Hill as the shooter, per court documents.
  • Hill is licensed to carry a firearm in Pennsylvania, and police recovered ammunition from a .380-caliber weapon from outside the bar. Police said Hill has several .380-caliber firearms registered to him, and they seized a gun box of the same caliber from Hill's home in Bala Cynwyd.

What they're saying: Fortunato Perri, Hill's attorney, declined to comment on the case.

  • Hill didn't return Axios' request for comment.

Context: Hill's successful firm handles mostly personal injury and medical malpractice cases and boasts of having secured $500 million in damages for clients since 1999.

  • In 2010, Hill represented his brother, Marc Lamont Hill — a prominent professor, TV pundit and author — in a high-profile federal civil rights lawsuit against Philadelphia police.

Between the lines: Rutgers law professor J.C. Lore III tells Axios that attorneys are held to higher standards, and Hill could face punishment, ranging from a slap on the wrist to disbarment, even if he's not convicted of a crime.

  • "The attorney-client relationship is built on trust and honesty," he says.

What's ahead: Hill is free on bail, and his lawyer this week asked a judge for more time to investigate the case.


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