Finding Satisfaction
For Jerry M. Lehocky, founding partner of workers’ compensation firm Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano, work is about much more than collecting a paycheck
by Pete Croatto

Jerry M. Lehocky spent much of his childhood sitting in hospital rooms. His father was diagnosed with lupus when Jerry was just 10 years old. The treatment for the disease ultimately compromised his father’s quality of life in another way, as it introduced a series of circulatory problems. Time spent by his father’s side extended into adulthood; in fact, Jerry took two of his first-year law finals in an ICU waiting room.

Now, as a founding partner of Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano, Lehocky utilizes lessons from his past to help others cope with a more difficult present. The Philadelphia-based law firm focuses its practice in workers’ compensation, representing injured men and women who seek not only the financial resources needed to get back on their feet, but also empathy and understanding.

When a disabling work-related injury occurs, the injured person and members of his or her family are thrown unexpectedly into a harsh new world. Lehocky learned this lesson firsthand by the side of his ailing father, who made his living as a plumber.

“There were times when [my family] didn’t know what was going to happen [to my father], but we never really suffered,” Lehocky says. “We never really felt the fear. He was great at keeping that from us, but I’m sure it was there. That’s the kind of confidence I want to instill in my clients. I don’t want them to think that I’m afraid—because I’m not. I’m going to keep their lives the way they were, and I’m going to get them back to where they were, so they can fulfill whatever goals they had for themselves and their family.”

For Lehocky, it is all about securing for clients what they need and deserve, and helping them get back on their feet financially as well as emotionally. After all, the negative aftereffects of a workplace injury tend to include much more than physical pain. A serious injury can mean the loss of a family breadwinner’s paycheck for an unknown length of time. As a result, bills and frustration mount. Hope fades. Conditions can get so bad that thoughts of suicide arise. 

“The anxiety, the nervousness, the fear—it’s just overwhelming for people,” Lehocky says. “They don’t know the process, what their rights are, what they can and can’t do. Many times, the injured person finally gets to the realization that their employer, even though they worked for the employer for a very long time and think that they’re caring and look out for them, they don’t. Quite often, someone will come to us four or five weeks after the injury and they say to me, ‘No one from my job has called to ask how I’m doing.’ It’s such a shock to them.

“Even though thousands and thousands of people work very hard for their employers and give their blood, sweat and tears, the employers are businesspeople,” he continues. “When you’re injured, you’re treated differently—instantaneously—by your employer.”

Lehocky and his fellow attorneys provide the care and attention that injured workers may not receive elsewhere. Clients have around-the-clock access to the attorneys and their staff. In other words, each client has a veritable army of allies on his or her side. In addition, the firm is associated with thousands of Philadelphia-area doctors and can offer multiple referral options to address injured workers’ mental and physical health issues.

“It’s all about making them feel better,” Lehocky says, “making them feel them that they’re not alone.”

Changing Lives
Empathy and understanding are essential qualities for a workers’ compensation attorney, as are the experience and know-how needed to achieve the best possible outcome for the injured worker. Lehocky, for his part, has become one of the greater Philadelphia area’s most accomplished attorneys in this field of law, with more than 30 years of experience under his belt.

And to think, he nearly chose to pursue a different area of practice in another state. Initially, Lehocky wanted to attend law school in sunny California. Growing up, he dreamed of acting in soap operas. Pursuing entertainment law in Los Angeles seemed like a perfect compromise.

Lehocky was two weeks away from moving across the country to live with his uncle in Los Angeles when the phone rang. It was the vice dean of Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. A conversation ensued.

You never replied to our acceptance letter.

I never got one.

The offer to enroll still stood. Temple wouldn’t cost nearly as much as law school in Los Angeles. Lehocky, then a native of the Pittsburgh area, decided to head east.

When do classes start?


That night, Lehocky drove from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, which he had never even visited. By 11 a.m. the next day, he was sitting in his first law school class.

It took longer for Lehocky to find his true calling within the law. For six years, Lehocky, who now calls Philadelphia home, was on the other side of the courtroom, representing insurance companies in workers’ compensation cases. His frequent opponent was Sam Pond, another scrappy city kid who applied his grit to a career in law. Despite being adversaries, a mutual respect developed between them. Lehocky saw the spark Pond had in representing people, not corporations.

“Even when you win for the defense, you’re not really changing anybody’s life,” Lehocky says. “The insurance company gets to save some money, and off they go. There’s no real sense of satisfaction.”

Lehocky finally started representing workers in 1991 when Pond urged Lehocky to join his firm. Since then, he never uses an alarm clock in the morning. The satisfaction in helping people is the only jolt he needs to get out of bed each day.

When Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano was founded in July 2010, the firm had six attorneys and 22 total staff members. Today, it boasts approximately 260 employees in 12 offices nationwide, including one in Lehocky’s hometown of Pittsburgh. Anyone in the region who turns on the television or takes a drive on I-95 will encounter the firm’s hopeful message in some form. Lehocky is proud to mention that the marketing messages don’t feature the partners boasting about settlements.  Instead, they spotlight real people who talk about how the firm has helped right their lives when, in Lehocky’s words, “things become broken.”

“It’s our job to put it all back together,” he says.  In other words, business is personal for Jerry Lehocky. He wouldn’t have it any other way. 

“I don’t consider it to be work,” he says. “I never looked at what I do as a job. It’s who I am. It’s my identity. Because I love what I do, I can do this 24-7. There are so many people out there that I haven’t reached, that I haven’t been able to help. That’s what bothers me.” 

The good news: With the firm’s continued growth, Lehocky has more opportunities than ever to help injured workers attain the justice they seek—and deserve. 

For more information on Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano’s office locations throughout the area, visit or call 800-568-7500.

Photography by Jeff Anderson