James McErlane — ‘an Icon in Our Community’ — Inducted into Chester County Business Hall of Fame

awards reception
Image via the Chester County Economic Development Council.
From left: CCEDC Board Chair Craig A. Styer, James McErlane, and CCEDC President Gary Smith.

James McErlane, Senior Partner and Founding Member of Lamb McErlane PC, has been inducted into the Chester County Business Hall of Fame by the Chester County Economic Development Council.

“From his service in the U.S. Navy and on many civic and community boards, to his highly-regarded legal career, Jim McErlane’s impact on Chester County and the region is unparalleled,” said CCEDC President Gary Smith. “Jim has truly become an icon in our community.”

The Chester County Business Hall of Fame Award recognizes an individual’s outstanding achievements and contributions within the local business community. McErlane has been providing superior legal counsel to businesses over the past 50 years as Chester County has undergone a remarkable transformation from rural community to booming business corridor.

McErlane began his legal career as a JAG in the U.S. Navy in 1967, serving on active duty for almost three years, including in Vietnam.

“My years in the Navy were one of the great experiences of my life,” he said. “My first airplane trip was wearing a blue suit with gold buttons.”

The son of immigrants, with grandparents hailing from Ireland and Italy, McErlane was born and raised in Malvern. He attended St. Patrick’s Elementary School and recalls only 13 people being in his eighth-grade class “with a couple of kids who milked cows before coming to school.”

McErlane went on to earn a scholarship to attend Malvern Prep, eventually attaining his B.A. from Villanova University and J.D. from Villanova Law School.

McErlane’s Navy career took him to San Diego, where he met his future wife, Robbi.

Robbi would move east to marry McErlane as he got his first civilian job at a West Chester law firm. After just a few months, the firm reorganized to become Lamb Windle McErlane. Five decades later, Lamb McErlane is 42 attorneys strong and growing, fueled by McErlane’s renowned practice that includes business law, banking, finance, and real estate.

“It has really been an honor to guide so many successful Chester County businesses, structuring transactions and assisting them with the banking and loan documents that enabled them to grow,” said McErlane. “We’ve had the benefit in Chester County of a rising tide lifting all boats. It continues to be a place where if you work hard and put in the time, you have a good opportunity to be successful, raise a family, and send your kids to college. I commend Marian Moskowitz and the Chester County Commissioners for their leadership and dedication to serve our community.”

McErlane is particularly proud of his more than 30 years of work with the March of Dimes, as well as his appointment to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Judicial Conduct Board, where he served a term as Chair of the Board.

McErlane recently celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with Robbi, his children Bonnie and Lisa, as well as his two grandchildren. He attributes his success to the support of his family, as well as his Lamb McErlane colleagues and friends across Chester County.

“Nobody does anything without a great deal of help,” he said. “We went through tough times over the years, and some great times. Everybody’s life has those experiences. Keep working, keep plodding, and don’t give up.”

Learn more about Lamb McErlane.

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