James McErlane ’60 announced as graduation speaker

Mike Harrington

McErlane, a Senior Partner at West Chester law firm, hopes to offer remarks he would have liked to hear as a senior.

Alumnus Mr. James McErlane ’60 will be the featured speaker at this year’s Graduation Ceremony, according to Head of School Mr. Christian Talbot.

After growing up in Malvern and attending our beloved school until 1960, McErlane went on to get an undergraduate degree and a law degree from Villanova University.

Instead of starting his law career directly after his graduation from Villanova Law School in 1967, he chose a different path. McErlane enlisted in the Navy and spent three years traveling the world.

“I loved the Navy, I had never traveled until I had joined the Navy. No one in those days traveled as much as typical people do today,” he said.

McErlane enjoyed the fact that he was able to visit places that he had never seen before.

“The Navy gave me the chance to see different parts of the world. I spent 13 months in Vietnam. I came back [to the US] and went to California,” he said.

McErlane completed his three years of service in 1970. He met his wife shortly after his time overseas was done in San Diego. The couple returned to the area and started a family.

At the same time, McErlane began to pursue his law career and joined up with a couple of people who together formed the law firm Lamb McErlane. He ran the firm for many years and now still oversees as a Senior Partner.

According to Lamb McErlane’s website, McErlane’s practice has concentrated in the area of general business, finance, real estate, municipal and governmental regulations. He was named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer for General Business Law, and has served on the Boards of many state and regional organizations.

McErlane is proud of his work in the Chester County community. “Chester County has been a growing and successful community. We are part of that community,” he said. “A rising tide lifts all boats. We were happy to be lifted up by the rising tide.”

When outgoing Head of School Mr. Christian Talbot reached out to McErlane about the opportunity to speak at this year’s graduation ceremony, he was very surprised at first. This surprise turned into anticipation, as he is very excited to share some words with the senior class.

“I want to deliver comments to the senior class that are comments that I would have liked to listen to as a senior at Malvern Prep,” he said. “That’s what I’m working on.”

McErlane has seen Malvern develop over the years since his graduation, and he is happy to say that it has come a very long way since then.a

“Malvern Prep is just so much more well known and formidable now than it was when I went there,” he said. “Malvern is a real powerhouse school now. We may have thought we were, but deep down we knew we weren’t. But you guys are.”