Three Distinguished Alumni Spoke at the Dean’s Leadership Forum
Web Editor - Published: September 25, 2009



“It was just a wonderful environment. I found it intellectually stimulating to come down here and study constitutional law,” said Brian P. Tierney ’87 of his time at Widener Law. On Monday, September 21st, Brian and his brothers, Kevin C. Tierney ’82 and Michael J. Tierney ’93, spoke to Widener Law students, faculty, and staff in The Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom as the featured guests for the annual Dean’s Leadership Forum.

With Dean Ammons asking questions in a talk-show style setting, the three brothers shared details about their careers, their views on leadership, and how to be successful. Dean Ammons opened the dialogue with introductions before asking the brothers what brought them to Widener Law. Kevin indicated that he originally came to Widener Law with the intention of being a teacher, saying, “I was always interested in teaching. I originally intended to get my law degree and teach,” but he found that opportunity led him to start his own practice; “It was something that I didn’t envision initially, but I just started doing what was necessary to make the business run.”

Dean Ammons asked Brian, who is not a practicing attorney, how his law degree helps him, and he responded, “The law background is great because it built up my logical thinking skills,” adding, “It’s been a great addition to my business career.”

When the conversation turned to what traits made for good leaders, each of the brothers focused on the importance of seizing opportunities. Brian indicated that a leader, “has to communicate and have a certain amount of vision,” while Kevin told the audience, “Believe in yourself and it can work. You can’t be afraid to take a risk.” Michael agreed, adding, “You can’t be looking in the rearview mirror. You have to keep moving forward. Opportunities will present themselves, but you have to be flexible.”

The forum also touched on a number of other important issues, including the importance of community service and outreach, something each of the Tierney brothers cited as important, with Michael noting, “You get involved because it’s the right thing to do. You also do it because it’s fun and you get to meet a lot of interesting people.” At the end of the event, the Tierney brothers took questions from the audience on how to prioritize work and family life, taking the bar exam, and the value of planning versus taking opportunities that come along.

Brian P. Tierney, Esq. is the Chief Executive of Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC and publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he received his J.D. from Widener Law in 1987. He has worked for the Republican National Committee, served as president and CEO of the public relations division of Lewis Gilman & Kynett, and he founded the Tierney Group. In 2005, he founded Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC to buy The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and

Kevin C. Tierney, Esq. graduated cum laude from West Chester University with a B.A. and M.A. in American History before earning his J.D. from Widener Law in 1982. He went on to found his own Law Firm, the Law Office of Kevin C. Tierney in Philadelphia. The firm also has offices in Princeton, NJ, and New York City, and focuses on insurance defense with particular emphasis on products liability, toxic exposure, hazardous waste, asbestos exposure, and insurance coverage disputes.

Michael J. Tierney, Esq. graduated from Denison University and earned his J.D. from Widener Law in 1993. While at Widener, he served as Articles Editor of the Delaware Journal of Corporate Law and was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. He is now a Partner at the Law Firm of Dilworth Paxson LLP in Philadelphia, where he is the Co-Chair of the Media Law Practice Group, advising media entities on all aspects of their business, including corporate, governance, financing, employment and labor, as well as First Amendment issues, including defense of defamation matters, access issues and handling of subpoenas.