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Morgan Lewis Appoints Jami McKeon as Their First Female Chair
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Summary: Litigator Jami Wintz McKeon becomes the first female chair at Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius LLP.

Litigator Jami Wintz McKeon proves there is still room for women in the upper echelons of U.S. Law firms. Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius LLP announced Oct. 1 that she would become their first female chair.

  
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Though a third of lawyers and judges are women, only 17 percent of them are equity partners in the top 200 largest law firms, says the National Association of Women Lawyers, and on average they still earn less despite when they bring in the same amount of business.

“When I came to the firm there were no women partners; I worked for all men,” said Ms. McKeon. But there was no question that each was giving me the same opportunities and mentoring they were giving to men. … I was on a level playing field, and that’s what we really want.”

Ms. McKeon certainly strove her way up the ladder of meritocracy. She joined Morgan Lewis’ Philadelphia firm in 1981 and has since worked through many leadership roles, including multiple terms on each of its Advisory Board and Compensation Committees. She used her time spent on leading the firm’s Litigation Practice to expand it around the globe, and also helped bring on 150 lawyers from Brobeck Phelger & Harrison back in 2003.

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That she integrated these lawyers suggests that she will be up for the firm’s possible merger with Boston law firm Bingham McCutchen: rumors have it the two firms are considering bringing their lawyers into one firm.

Upon her ascension to her new position, Ms. McKeon said, “I am honored to have been elected to succeed Fran as the Chair of Morgan Lewis. Fran has been an extraordinary leader, and under his stewardship, the firm has experienced transformative growth, while retaining the longstanding culture of client service and teamwork that characterizes our partnership and our firm. Fran has been a valued mentor to me throughout my career at the firm, and I am excited to work with him over the next year. I very much look forward to building from the solid foundation from which Morgan Lewis will continue to serve our clients across the globe.”



Ms. McKeon is expected to serve a five-year term following a year long transition beginning Oct 1, 2014.

The ascension of women to such leadership roles reminds us that law firms can benefit from having female leaders. Women like McKeon stand as inspiration for those lawyers wondering if they dare be as ambitious.

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