Fox family law: Family rule, not exception, for firm

CARL ROTENBERG, Times Herald Staff November 08, 2001

Fox and Fox

Leon H. Fox Jr., left, managing partner of Fox and Fox law firm, and his son, Craig H. Fox, in their law offices at One Montgomery Plaza in Norristown.

Law offices, restaurants and construction companies are three venues where family blood can mix with commerce to produce long-running businesses.

In the Fox family tree, legal work has been shared by three generations in the Lafayette Hill area. Leon H. Fox Sr., a former first assistant United States attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, started the Norristown law practice at 523 Swede St. in 1921.

Fox, who died in 1982, was joined by his son, Leon H. Fox Jr., in the practice in 1956. The two lawyers called their practice "Fox and Fox." The general legal practice handled commercial litigation, family law, wills and estates, and corporate law. Leon Fox Jr.'s brother, James P. Fox, joined the law firm in 1963. He died in 1999.

The younger Leon Fox moved the practice to One Montgomery Plaza in the summer of 1986 after a fire in an adjacent building July 3, 1986, caused smoke and water damage at the law office.

Leon Jr.'s older son, Craig H. Fox, joined the law firm in 1992 after working for six years for Monteverde, Hemphill, Maschmeyer & Obert of Philadelphia.

The law firm's name remained Fox and Fox even though the grandfather was no longer there.

Both of the current Fox lawyers enjoy working alongside each other partly because they practice in different niches of the legal profession. Leon Fox, 69, is the managing partner and works on estate planning, family law and civil litigation. Craig Fox, also a real estate agent for Realty Corp. of America, specializes in real estate, loan documentation, foreclosures, mergers and collections.

"It's good working together," said Craig Fox. "I like seeing my father on a daily basis. We haven't gotten into any arguments over the years that I recall.

" The most famous case Leon Fox Jr. was involved in during his 44 years of legal work was the Ethel Kravitz murder case in the late 1950s. Kravitz was found guilty of murdering her husband, Max. She eventually died in prison. But while she was appealing her case, she implicated Morris Passon, a Philadelphia attorney, in the commission of the murder.

"That was a fascinating case," said Fox. "I practiced criminal law for the first 15 years of my career.

" The two attorneys both attended Lafayette College and share a passion for basketball and exercise. Craig Fox, 39, is running six days a week to prepare for the Philadelphia Marathon in mid-November. Leon Fox competes in the Montgomery County Senior Games and has won four gold and three silver medals in senior basketball competitions over the years.

The family has attended the NCAA Final Four basketball championship weekend for the past 13 years.

Leon Fox's wife, Lois, has been the office manager for more than 35 years. Another son, Jeff Fox, runs J.M. Fox Associates in Norristown. A daughter, Dr. Marlene Goldwein, is an internist at MCP Hahnemann Hospital.

"We respect each other," said Leon Fox. "We don't second-guess each other."