Robert W. Munley, Munley Law founder and partner, is a Pennsylvania legal legend and personal injury law pioneer. He has achieved record-setting verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients in Pennsylvania and nationwide.
Throughout a distinguished career with a focus on plaintiffs’ rights, Munley blazed new trails for Pennsylvania attorneys and established precedents that define the practice of personal injury law today. He helped establish case law for calculating the economic loss associated with the death of children killed in vehicular accidents. He was also the first attorney in the state to develop a focus on cases involving personal injuries caused by commercial trucks.
Robert W. Munley
Robert W. Munley. Original painting on canvas. 2018 24" x 18". In the private collection of Munley Law
Munley worked on a murder case with famed defense attorney F. Lee Bailey. His legal legacy and influence extends to mentoring six children who have become notable Pennsylvania attorneys – including five members of Munley Law. Robert W. Munley was named to the 2015 Irish Legal 100, an honor awarded annually by the Irish Voice to the 100 most outstanding Irish-Americans in the legal profession.
Munley is active in serving both the local community and the Pennsylvania Bar, including as a board member of the United Way of Pennsylvania, as president of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, as president of the Lackawanna County Bar Association and as a board member of the Everhart Museum in Scranton.
For the past 25 years, he teamed up with “Family to Family Thanksgiving” in providing Thanksgiving dinner baskets to needy families throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. He endowed scholarships at Landmark College in Vermont, as well as Marywood University and the University of Scranton, providing grants for students who wish to pursue a career in law or politics. And, the Lackawanna Bar Association has established the Robert W. Munley Distinguished Service Award in acknowledgment of his extensive pro bono work on behalf of those who could not otherwise afford legal help. The award is given annually to an individual or organization who has demonstrated outstanding service to the community.
Robert W. Munley in his own words::
I was born and raised in a little coal town 10 miles north of Scranton called Archbald. My great-grandfather came from Ireland. His oldest son after the first World War ran for the legislature and was elected. That was 1922. He continued to be elected until he died in 1938. He was replaced by my father, who was re-elected five times, until 1947, when he died suddenly. My mother replaced him. She was there for 20 years. We had a lifetime association with the law in some form. I decided when I was very young I wanted to be a lawyer, and that’s what happened to me.
I left law school; I gave up my deferment and volunteered to be drafted, and I went to Korea. I thought I’d be in America for a long time. Five months later, I was in the war. I was assigned to an engineer battalion [in the Army in South Korea]. Our assignment was to the airfield—building and repairing and protecting the airfield. I was not in the infantry. I was not [in] combat in the true sense of the word. But we had our problems at night with infiltrators. I got shot at, and I shot back.
I spent 10 years as an assistant district attorney. The district attorney retired and the Democratic Party picked me to replace him. I lost the election. Now most people will tell you that’s the greatest break I ever got. I spent the aftermath pretty much trying criminal cases. From then on I realized that I could make a living with the law, without anything else.
I had six children and was struggling to make a living. I had a lot of criminal cases. I was in an association with three other lawyers. I couldn’t be a drug lawyer representing drug people. I switched that and decided to be on the civil side. No-fault insurance came to Pennsylvania, and all the older guys were deathly afraid of the new rules. I said, ‘Well, I bring in new cases.’
My six children are all lawyers. All six of them. My son-in-law is a lawyer and now a U.S. district congressman. My brother, who was a lawyer, is now a U.S. district judge. It became pretty successful. I’ll tell you one thing, I get up every morning and thank God I was a lawyer.