Carl M. Buchholz
Carl M. Buchholz, age 51, Managing Partner, Philadelphia office, DLA Piper International Law Firm and former Managing Partner of Blank Rome law firm died peacefully at home on May 23, 2016 surrounded by his loving family.
In the wake of September 11th, President George W. Bush appointed Carl to work in the White House as Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security.
Working with Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, Carl helped to establish the White House Office of Homeland Security and develop the administration’s policies on terrorism. He then served as co-chairman of the Transition team for the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, overseeing the formation of a new department of government, combining 22 federal agencies, 170,000 employees and a budget of more than $46 billion.
In addition to his remarkable professional career, Carl was highly engaged in civic affairs. He served as a member of the Board of Trustees at Drexel University, member of the Executive Committee for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. He also was a member of his beloved University of Virginia Jefferson Scholars Committee, a member of the Executive Committee for the Committee of Seventy, a member of the Visit Philadelphia Board and Vice Chairman for the American Revolution Center.
Carl devoted himself to the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania where he served as past Chairman of the Board. In that role, Carl led a new strategy to grow the United Way’s community investment, transforming it to a true agent for change in the Philadelphia community. He and his wife Karen also served as Co-Chairs of United Way’s Alex de Tocqueville Society and Carl was named Volunteer of the year in 2011.
Carl lived his life fully, guided by a deep love and passion for his family. They traveled the world together from Africa to Israel, across Europe and Asia often with close friends along for the adventure. Carl loved spending time with his wife and children at his vacation home on the Eastern Shore in Rock Hall, Maryland where they entertained their friends and extended family on weekends and holidays.
Born in Philadelphia in 1965, Carl attended Wissahickon High School, graduating with honors. He received his B.A. with highest distinction from the University of Virginia in 1987, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. He loved his time in Charlottesville and considered his experience at UVA as foundational to his professional and civic life. Carl then returned to his hometown earning his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992.
He began his professional career in Washington, D.C. as a special assistant to United States Senator John Heinz, where he met fellow staff member and the love of his life Karen Dougherty. They were married on December 28, 1991 in Potomac, Md.
Upon graduation from Law School, Carl clerked for the Honorable Anita B. Brody, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
He began his private law practice as an associate for the Blank Rome law firm in 1993 rising quickly through the ranks to become a partner in 2000.
Carl continued with his passion for civic service. He was a key member of the Bush-Cheney presidential team litigating the historic Florida recount issues in 2000. In 2004 he served as Pennsylvania General Counsel to for the Bush-reelection campaign and also co-chaired the transition team for newly elected Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett.
After his time in the White House working to create the Office Homeland Security after 9/11, Carl returned to Philadelphia in 2003 to serve as Executive Partner at Blank Rome LLP, and was ultimately elected Managing Partner & CEO of the firm in 2006.
From 2006 to 2011 Carl led the 500-lawyer Blank Rome law firm through an aggressive strategic growth plan nationally and internationally, achieving record revenues and profits for the firm. He further led the opening of Blank Rome offices in Los Angeles, California, Houston, Texas, Hong Kong & Shanghai, China. He was instrumental in recruiting more than 100 lateral partners, which doubled the number of lawyers in Blank Rome’s offices outside of its Philadelphia headquarters.
He continued to develop his multi-national corporate litigation practice and in 2014, Carl was named Managing Partner for DLA Piper’s Philadelphia office. With more than 3,700 attorneys and 30 offices, DLA ranks as the largest law firm in the world. As Managing Partner of DLA’s Philadelphia Office, Carl was again active in growing the office through the recruitment of a number of key lateral partners while also managing a significant client base as a successful corporate litigator.
A true friend and advisor to business, civic and political leaders from around the country, Carl will be remembered for his integrity, his honesty, and his leadership.
Carl is survived by his wife, Karen Dougherty Buchholz, Senior Vice President of Administration at Comcast Corporation, and his two children Alex (21), a junior at New York University and Julia (17) a junior at Germantown Academy as well as his brother Doug of Philadelphia and his sister Linda Boughton of Metuchen, NJ. Carl was predeceased by his parents, Bernie and Audrey Buchholz.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103, St. Thomas’ Church, P.O Box 247, Ft. Washington, PA 19034 and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 6 Herndon Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21403.