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John E. D. Larkin

Named a Trailblazer by The National Law Journal, John “Jack” Larkin is the head of Gawthrop Greenwood’s Litigation Department. Jack focuses his practice on municipal and discrimination litigation. Significant recent trial matters he has handled include several federal employment discrimination defenses, a Title IX action against a public university, a federal copyright infringement defense, and multiple sexual harassment and assault cases. He is currently the elected Vice President of Radnor Township’s Board of Commissioners.

Prior to joining Gawthrop Greenwood, he was an appellate litigator in the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, where he appeared regularly before the Pennsylvania Superior Court and periodically handled appeals to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He continues his appellate practice today, civilly, before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and Pennsylvania’s Superior, Commonwealth and Supreme Courts.

Jack’s published works have appeared in law journals at the Georgetown University School of Law, Vanderbilt Law School and the University of Florida Law School, in the American Journal of Trial Advocacy, as well as in the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Bar Quarterly and At Issue publications.

Jack is an alumnus of Oberlin College, where he graduated with honors. While at Villanova Law School he received the Pennsylvania Environmental Law Forum scholarship and was a Dean’s Merit Scholar. He also received the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers’ Association’s James J. Mandarino Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy. He was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers and a “Top Lawyer” by Main Line Today 2014-2019. Jack is a member of the American Red Cross’ Chester County Leadership Board. In 2018, he was elected to the Radnor Township Board of Commissioners, where he continues to serve as the Commissioner for Radnor’s First Ward.


Avoiding a Lawsuit Trap for Overtime Pay Rules
Law360, March 2021
Employers are hungry for skilled workers they can promote to positions of responsibility. When they do, the promoted employee’s compensation is often switched from an hourly wage to a salary. This change benefits the worker, who enjoys a more reliable paycheck, and the employer, who can count on an employee to work the longer hours that come with promotion without incurring the overtime costs that hourly employees can incur. Unfortunately, many employers wrongly assume that salarying an employee will, without more, exempt that employee from the overtime requirements of state and federal law; this is not the case and, when salaried employees are entitled to overtime, its calculation becomes a lawsuit trap. Read More

Guns in Government Parks & Buildings
Pa. Bar. Assoc. Quarterly, Jul. 2015
Section 6120 of Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act prohibits counties and municipalities from “regulating” firearms. On the basis of this restriction, special interest groups have begun an assault on gun bans in local parks and town halls, arguing that rules prohibiting guns in children’s playgrounds and in government buildings constitute impermissible “regulation.” Because of the statutory provision that awards successful citizen-litigants their attorneys’ fees, cash-strapped municipal governments have been reluctant to defend their policies and, as a result, there is little case law defining the ambit of permissible municipal rule making.

This article argues that, on the basis of nearly identical provisions in Pennsylvania’s Game Law (which prohibits municipal “regulation” of hunting), a municipal government does not impermissibly “regulate” unless its rules apply equally throughout the municipal jurisdiction. Instead, this article suggests that municipalities have the same rights as private landowners to promulgate rules for invitees on government-owned property.

Compelled Production of Encrypted Data
14 Vanderbilt J. Ent. & Tech. L 253 (2012).
In spite of recent revelations about the NSA, cheap or free encryption programs can place protected data beyond conventional law enforcement’s reach. If courts seriously mean to protect the victims of Internet crime—all too often children—then Congress must adopt a legal mechanism to remedy the technological deficiency.

To date, police and prosecutors have relied on subpoenas to either compel defendants to produce their passwords, or to decipher their protected data. This technique has been met with mixed success.

A better solution would be to couple a subpoena for the deciphered data with a warrant that specifies what and how to search. If the defendant refuses to produce the deciphered data, he can be held in contempt.

Where handing over protected data means the certainty of a lengthy prison sentence, some defendants will prefer contempt to compliance. Therefore, the court needs an additional legal mechanism to allow fact-finders to look into protected data. This Article proposes that when a defendant refuses to comply with a court order to produce deciphered data, the court should be able to issue a missing evidence instruction as a surrogate for actual inspection. If a warrant, a subpoena, and a contempt order cannot induce a defendant to decrypt his data, courts should issue an instruction that the fact finder may presume that the missing data is incriminating.

A Proposed Framework for Evaluating Effective Assistance of Counsel
34 Am. J. Trial Advocacy 565 (2011).
The Supreme Court decision in Padilla provides long-awaited relief to defendants facing deportation following their guilty pleas, but it also raises questions. This article relies on Padilla and related precedent to propose a new framework for guilty plea colloquies. It examines the class of defendants who are denied relief under Padilla because of their procedural posture, and concludes that such denial is inequitable. It also maintains that the distinction between direct and collateral consequences should not be disturbed.

Criminal & Civil Liability for User-Generated Content
15 J. Tech. L. & Pol’y 85.
That the real-world murders, assaults, and robberies alleged to have used Craigslist as a tool are criminal is beyond doubt. Craigslist itself, however—like similar online forums—exists in a legal grey area that has, until now, limited its exposure to civil liability. In spite of increased attention from state and federal law enforcement agencies, Craigslist continues to escape criminal prosecution. Some authority even suggests that Craigslist is immune from legal action against it. Nevertheless, the negative media attention from Markoff’s case has forced Craigslist to make alterations to its “Erotic Services” section. Specifically, Craigslist has changed the name of the “Erotic Services” section to “Adult Services,” has increased fees for posts placed in the “Adult Services” section, and has agreed to “better monitor ads and delete ‘blatant’ prostitution ads.”

Congress may have intended to definitively resolve the question of website liability by its passage of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA), but in light of Craigslist’s recent capitulation to legal pressure, the time is ripe to revisit the question of the civil and criminal liability that websites risk by opening forums to the public. This article argues that recent court decisions have already limited the extent of the protection websites enjoy from civil suits, and that the changes Craigslist has made to its “Erotic Services” section places the website even further outside the immunity the company has hitherto enjoyed. In reaching its conclusion, this article proceeds in two sections, considering first the extent of Craigslist’s criminal liability, and then the nature of the civil liability to which Craigslist is now exposed.

UNCLOS & the Balance of Environmental & Economic Resources in the Arctic
22 Geo. Int’l Envtl. L. Rev. 307
The Arctic is a resource that teeters on the brink of exhaustion. The northern polar region is a necessary component of global weather and climate, via the hydrological cycle and the cooling effect of carbon trapping and ice albedo. This environmental role, however, is balanced precariously against the economic value that is trapped under the ice, in the form of fishery stocks, mineralogical wealth, and potential trade routes.

In spite of this delicate balance, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (“UNCLOS”) gives extraordinary license to just six nations to determine the fate of the Arctic. Their historical exploitation of the Arctic, however, suggests that additional oversight is necessary. Several control mechanisms are considered and a new system is proposed: the use of UNCLOS itself, and the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea as a governing body to prevent destruction of the Arctic global resource.


  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court
  • Third Circuit Court of Appeals
  • District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • The United States Tax Court


  • Lower Merion High School
  • Oberlin College & Conservatory of Music
  • Villanova Law School


  • American Red Cross – Chester County Leadership Board
  • Radnor Township Board of Commissioners, First Ward


  • National Law Journal Trailblazer, 2022
  • Super Lawyers, Pennsylvania Rising Star, 2014-2022
  • Top Lawyers, Main Line Today, 2014-2022
  • Top Lawyers, Daily Local News, 2021-2022 Readers Choice Awards
  • James J. Mandarino Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy (Philadelphia Trial Lawyers’ Association, 2009)

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