Capehart Scatchard: Doing things the right way for nearly 150 years


For regional powerhouse Capehart Scatchard, decades of success, prominence and goodwill all started with one self-educated attorney, Thomas French, who opened a solo practice in Camden in 1876. In the years that followed, French’s modest law firm would evolve into the well-respected Capehart Scatchard.

Through the years, the firm’s history has served as both a source of pride and a continuing ethical guide. It has remained true to its founders’ traditions while expanding personnel, technology and legal services, and staying current with the law and society. Now, 146 years after its opening, Capehart Scatchard is a full-service, diversified law firm with more than 90 attorneys practicing in 4 offices in the tri-state area. Its clientele ranges from individuals and small family-owned businesses to large corporations. Some of the businesses that worked with Capehart Scatchard in centuries past remain clients today.

Given the firm’s reputation, storied history and ability to keep up with the times, it is perhaps not surprising that a large majority of today’s attorneys in Capehart Scatchard’s Mt. Laurel headquarters have strong ties to the area.

“The majority of our attorneys and staff are from South Jersey,” says Kelly Ann Dugan, a real estate and land use lawyer who has been with the firm since 1988, right out of her judicial clerkship. “We know the nuances of the region and its people, and because the firm has been around for so long – providing excellent service – the people know us.”

With her expertise in business, real estate and land use law, Kelly has brought peace of mind to countless South Jersey residents as they make some of the most monumental decisions of their lives – purchasing homes and business properties. The shake up in the residential housing market over the past 2 years has brought on even more complexities – and greater need for her valuable services.

“Residential real estate law has become so much more complex in recent years on top of all the changes brought on by the pandemic,” says Kelly. “Before Covid you would rarely see a buyer waive an appraisal contingency or see such significant differences between the asking prices and appraised values of residential properties. I tell my clients my job is not to make decisions for them but to give them the best information so they can make the best decisions.”

Given the complexities of such legal transactions, she often finds herself pooling expertise with other Capehart Scatchard lawyers to provide clients the best representation possible in the timeliest manner at a reasonable rate. In Kelly’s case, she typically teams up with fellow attorney Yasmeen Khaleel, who specializes in business, tax and wills as well as trusts and estates. A 20-year veteran at Capehart Scatchard, Yasmeen is often brought in to work with clients on estate planning tied to buying or selling a home. In this role, she’s always thinking several steps ahead.

“We work with people who are going through major life events and usually we can cover almost any issue that might arise through a strategic approach,” Kelly says. “We’ve developed a real synergy.”

Yasmeen’s ability to help couples think through hard issues can save heartache in the future, she adds.

“Clients, both married and unmarried, working with Kelly when they are planning or in the process of purchasing a home, are so excited for the future,” Yasmeen says. “It’s often hard for them to consider that things may not work out as anticipated. What if there is a break-up or one of them falls ill? What do they do with the joint assets of real estate? If couples don’t consider these types of issues before they put their savings into a home, so much money is often wasted, and there is emotional turmoil created after the fact.”

Yasmeen helps craft agreements to protect each owners’ best interests. In some ways, it’s a form of counseling as it helps couples flesh out their goals and work together on addressing hard issues, she says. She points out that her working relationship with Kelly is far from unusual at Capehart Scatchard. Given the firm’s mission to provide cost-efficiency without sacrificing positive legal results, attorneys often work in teams to provide the best outcomes.

“Our world has changed and is more litigious, people can have a fear of conflict or dispute even if that never materializes,” says Yasmeen. “We seek to help them avoid problems or address them head-on in the most effective ways possible.”

Adds Kelly: “People don’t always consider the multiple possibilities until they have a proper consultation with counsel.” She recalls working with a couple that bought a house for their college-aged child to share with other students. She helped the couple draft legal documents to protect themselves from issues they hadn’t considered before deciding to purchase the property.

“They weren’t aware they should have a lease with each of the occupants and that there were landlord/tenant laws and liability issues that needed to be considered,” she says.

Kelly and Yasmeen noted that they have seen a recent rise in concern among clients regarding property fraud, and that a new service called a property fraud alert is being offered in Burlington County that may provide some peace of mind.

“The Clerk’s Office is offering a service which seeks to address this issue by offering Burlington County residents the opportunity to register their names to be contacted when a document, such as a deed or mortgage, is recorded in the Clerk’s office with their name,” Kelly says, suggesting that residents of other counties could check their clerk’s offices to see if a similar service is available.

“The more thorough you are in the planning process, the more likely you can avoid issues and minimize the potential for dispute,” adds Yasmeen. “Be proactive.”


Practice Areas:

  • Alternative Energy
  • Banking & Finance
  • Business & Tax
  • Cannabis Law
  • Education
  • Employment & Labor
  • Healthcare
  • Litigation
  • Longshore Defense
  • Real Estate & Land Use
  • Wills, Trusts & Estates
  • Workers’ Compensation

8000 Midlantic Dr., Ste 300S, P.O. Box 5016, Mt. Laurel | 856-234-6800 |