RLH Celebrates Bernard Smalley on Being the Cover Story Featured in Super Lawyers of PA and DE 2020 Edition.


For Bernard W. Smalley, it all started in his father’s West Philadelphia barbershop.

Perched on the shoeshine stand, a young Bernard W. Smalley watched as his father cut the hair and dispersed wisdom to some of Philadelphia’s greatest legal minds: William H. Hastie, the first African American to serve as chief judge of a U.S. Federal of Court Appeals; Ronald Davenport, who would become dean of Duquesne University School of Law; H. Patrick Swygert, future president of Howard University.

Smalley grew up in that West Philadelphia barbershop, greeting these men with a firm handshake while locking eyes like his dad taught him. After running to the basement to remove warm peanuts from the roaster, he’d offer them in bags sold for a quarter. He’d hang their hats and coats, which would later take on the unique smell of Pinaud talc and aftershave — slightly antiseptic, musky, with hints of orange, lemon, jasmine, and lavender.

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