CEO And Chairperson Of The Top 10 US Firms

| General

CEO And Chairperson Of The Top 10 US Firms

The law firms in this article are ranked according to their 2021 revenue.

(1) Kirkland and Ellis

Chairman Profile – Jon A. Ballis

Chairman Profile – Jon A. Ballis

Personal Information

Name: Jon A. Ballis

Law firm: Kirkland & Ellis

Position: Chairman

Years in Position: 2 years

Practice Area: Private Equity

Jon A. Ballis is the Chairman of Kirkland & Ellis, who is responsible for establishing and executing upon the firm’s strategic priorities, including advancing business initiatives and client engagement, and promoting a culture of performance, collaboration and collegiality. Jon’s commitment and leadership has assisted Kirkland to receive several recognitions, such as Notable Diverse Leaders in Law and Notable Leaders in Sustainability.

In addition, Jon is dedicated in joining philanthropic activities and taking up board positions. He is a member of Legal Aid Chicago's Justice Circle, Chicago’s Civic Committee, the Commercial Club of Chicago and the Economic Club. He serves as one of the Board of Directors for the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Vision for Tomorrow Foundation (targeting on children with visual impairment). Jon has also acted as a guest lecturer for classes and organisations at Harvard Law School, the University of Chicago Law School and Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.

(2) Latham and Watkins

Chairman Profile – Richard M. Trobman

Chairman Profile – Richard M. Trobman

Personal Information

Name: Richard M. Trobman

Law firm: Latham and Watkins

Position: Chairman and Managing Partner

Years in Position: 5 years

Practice Areas: Capital Markets and M&A

Richard Trobman is the Chair and Managing Partner of Latham & Watkins. His practices areas include loans, M&A transactions, etc., with a particular emphasis on issuances of debt securities and leveraged transactions. He has represented a broad range of clients over the years, including LBO companies (e.g. Advent, BC Partners) and investment banks (e.g. JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley).

Richard is a highly recognised lawyer in the industry, where he is mentioned in IFLR, The Legal 500 UK, and Chambers UK, as a leading lawyer for high yield. Significantly, Chambers UK described him as “an absolutely excellent lawyer who is profoundly plugged in to the high-yield market”.

Under Richard’s guidance, Latham & Watkins is continuously embedding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as a distinguishing feature of the firm’s culture. As the Chair of the firm, Richard has personally committed to use his leadership role to demonstrate that advancing DEI is a top strategic priority for the firm. He will also convey to all firm leaders, partners, and personnel that they are expected to actively support and advance the firm’s global DEI strategy, including through mentorship and sponsorship of underrepresented associates.

(3) Norton Rose Fulbright

CEO Profile – Gerard G. Pecht

CEO Profile – Gerard G. Pecht

Personal Information

Name: Gerard G.Pecht

Law Firm: Norton Rose Fulbright

Position: Global Chief Executive

Years in Position: 2 years

Practice Area: Complex business and Commercial litigation

Gerry Pecht is the Global Chief Executive of Norton Rose Fulbright, a firm which he has been working at for 42 years. He concentrates his practice in the area of complex business and commercial litigation. Gerry has rich experiences in litigation, before courts (including appellate) and arbitration panels. Gerry has also represented multinational companies in internal corporate investigations. Prior to joining the firm, Gerry served as a law clerk in 1978-1980, for the Honourable Carl Rubin, which is the Chief Judge of the United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio.

Gerry has received several awards over the years for his excellent work and contributions to the legal industry. Recent awards include being a honouree of the Law Dragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America and as one of the top ranked chambers in USA 2022 issued by the Chambers and Partners.

Gerry has made notable contributions on enhancing diversity and inclusion in Norton Rose Fulbright. In 2020, Gerry joined the Catalyst CEO Champions For Change, making a personal pledge to accelerate gender equality and inclusion within the firm. The firm has also consecutively received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which is evaluated in accordance with corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality. In 2021, Norton Rose Fulbright earned the highest score and received the designation as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.

(4) Baker McKenzie

CEO Profile – Colin H. Murray

CEO Profile – Colin H. Murray

Personal Information

Name: Colin H. Murray

Law firm: Baker McKenzie

Position: CEO (North America)

Years in Position: 5 years

Practice Area: Litigation and Arbitration practice

Colin Murray has been the Chief Executive Officer in the North America Region of Baker McKenzie since 2017 and is responsible for business management in the United States, Mexico and Canada. During his 22 years of work at Baker McKenzie, Colin Murray has worked as a seasoned trial lawyer to represent global and local clients in fact-intensive business disputes.

Prior to his career journey at Baker McKenzie, Colin served as a Deputy District Attorney in San Diego for criminal prosecution in 1993-2000. In addition, he worked as a judicial law clerk to the Honourable Oliver Gasch (United States District Court for the District of Columbia) in 1992-1993 and to the Honourable Frederick Weisberg (Superior Court of the District of Columbia) in 1991-1992.

Colin considers himself as a “servant leader” – valuing connections with his entire leadership team, partners, clients and employees. He has worked hard to be accessible to every single colleague at the firm. Colin also strongly believes in the importance of working in a diverse team. As such, he has worked hard to increase diversity of the North America Leadership Team, by including over 60% of diverse individuals, such as women, people of colour and members of the LGBTQ community. Colin’s efforts are recognized by several leadership awards, particularly the ABA Litigation Section's Diversity Leadership Award in 2021, for his outstanding commitment to promoting full and equal participation in the legal profession through the encouragement and inclusion of women, people of colour, persons with disabilities, and/or persons of differing sexual orientations and gender identities.

(5) Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP

Executive Partner Profile – Eric J. Friedman

Executive Partner Profile – Eric J. Friedman

Personal Information

Name: Eric J. Friedman

Law firm: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Position: Executive Partner

Years in Position: 13 years

Practice Areas: M&A and Capital Markets

Eric Friedman has served as the Executive Partner of Skadden since 2009, furthering the firm’s mission to provide the highest quality legal service to clients, attract talents, and maintain commitments to pro bono and diversity, equity and inclusion. Under Eric’s leadership, Skadden received the most innovative law firm in North America by the Financial Times in three of its annual U.S./North America Innovative Lawyers reports. In addition, it has also been recognized for innovation by the publication for their work in Europe and Asia.

Regarding his personal recognition, Eric was awarded with the 2020 Servant of Justice Award by The Legal Aid Society of New York for his lasting impact on New York City’s legal community. In 2016, Eric received the AJC’s Learned Hand Award, celebrating highly distinguished attorneys whose work reflects the integrity and humanitarian ideals exemplified by Judge Hand.

Eric is an active board member of various organizations, such as the Mount Sinai Health System, the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. Eric is also dedicated to charitable work, from being the chairman of the board of trustees of the Skadden Fellowship Foundation (to improve legal services for the poor and encourage economic independence) to serving as an executive committee of the Court Square Law Project (to provide affordable legal services to people of moderate means).

(6) White and Case

Chairman Profile – Hugh Verrier

Chairman Profile – Hugh Verrier

Personal Information

Name: Hugh Verrier

Law firm: White & Case

Position: Chairman

Years in Position: 15 years

Practice Area: Finance

Hugh Verrier has been the Chairman of White & Case LLP since 2007 and has been at the firm for over 38 years. He directs the Firm’s operations and practices around the world. Hugh started his career with the firm as an associate in 1983. He later became a partner in 1994, was elected to the firm’s Global Management Team in 2004 and was finally promoted to the Chairman for the first time in 2007. In 2019, Hugh was re-elected for a fourth consecutive four-year term.

As a New York-qualified lawyer, Hugh spent most of his career with the firm in Indonesia, Turkey and Russia, focusing on the development of natural resources. Hugh also has rich experiences in debt finance and project development and finance areas.

Prior to his career in white & Case, Hugh Verrier worked as a law clerk to Justice Bertha Wilson, the first woman to serve in the Supreme Court of Canada from 1982-1983.

(7) Sidley Austin

Chairwoman Profile – Yvette Ostolaza

Chairwoman Profile – Yvette Ostolaza

Personal Information

Name: Yvette Ostolaza

Law firm: Sidley Austin

Position: Chairwoman

Months in Position: 6 months

Practice area: Commercial Litigation and Disputes

Yvette Ostolaza was elected as the Chair of Sidley Austin’s Management Committee in April 2022. Yvette has been working in the firm for 9 years, beginning her career as the Dallas Managing Partner. She is currently the co-leader of the Global Litigation Practice and a Managing Partner of the Dallas office.

Prior to her career journey at Sidley Austin, Yvette served as a Litigation Partner and Management Committee Member at Weil, Gotshal & Manges for 22 years, where she led the 190-attorney Complex Commercial Litigation Group. Since 2019, she has also taken up the position of Board Member at Lionsgate Entertainment.

Yvette has received many accolades over the years. Significantly, she has been ranked as a leading General Commercial Litigator by Chambers USA every year since 2009. In addition, as a Top Latino Lawyer, she appeared in Latino Leaders Magazine twice in 2018 and 2020 and is listed as one of the Most Powerful Latinas in Law.

(8) Hogan Lovells

CEO Profile – Miguel Zaldivar

CEO Profile – Miguel Zaldivar

Personal Information

Name: Miguel A. Zaldivar

Law Firm: Hogan Lovells

Position: CEO

Years in Position: 2 years

Practice Area: Infrastructure, Energy, Resources and Projects

Miguel Zaldivar is the Chief Executive Officer of Hogan Lovells and is responsible for the firm’s overall global direction and strategic leadership. Miguel is one of the few Latino leaders who has taken up one of the most senior positions at a major global law firm.

Before working in the firm, Miguel served as a lawyer-from-abroad in Covington & Burling in 1988-1989, then as an associate at Baker McKenzie in 1989-1993. He later served as a partner at Steel Hector & Davis LLP for 9 years. He then began working for Hogan Lovells in 2002.

Miguel has now worked in Hogan Lovells for nearly 21 years. He started his career in the firm as a partner in 2002, taking up the roles of Global Board of Director, co-leader of Infrastructure, Energy, Resources and Projects practice and the Head of Latin America practice. He was then promoted to a Regional Chief Executive – Asia Pacific & Middle East in 2008. In July 2020, Miguel Zaldivar became the Chief Executive Officer.

As a CEO, Miguel emphasizes on collaboration, actively listening to clients’ needs, mentoring lawyers to build trust and enduring relationships wherever they practice and the creation of a truly diverse and inclusive workplace. Miguel values the prioritisation of client services, where lawyers show real commitment to clients’ success and are willing to invest in long-term relationships.

(9) Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Chairwoman Profile – Jami Wintz McKeon

Chairwoman Profile – Jami Wintz McKeon

Personal Information

Name: Jami Wintz McKeon

Law Firm: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Position: Chairwoman

Years in Position: 8 years

Practice Area: Business Disputes

Jami Wintz McKeon is the CEO of the American multinational law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. She did her B.A. from Pennsylvania State University, followed by her J.D. from Villanova University School of Law.

Jami joined the firm back in 1981 as her first job. Slowly but firmly, she progressed through the ranks and was selected chair for five years in 2014 after holding many managerial positions along the way. She was unanimously re-elected in 2019, owing to her major contributions and immense commitment.

Shortly after becoming Chair, Jami welcomed over 750 new lawyers from Bingham McCutchen which ceased operations in 2014. Since then, she has expanded the firm's global reach by opening new offices in China and Japan and establishing a major hub in Singapore. She also launched the initiative ML Woman, aiming to harness the strengths of the firm's women.

While being the Chair, Jami also runs her own legal practice, which now represents some of the world's biggest banks. Jami believes that client service should be the centre of any successful organisation. She understands the importance of keeping up with technology and aims to give clients the smoothest experience. She is also heavily involved in Pro Bono work and support to NGOs and has worked notably on education and children's issues.

(10) DLA Piper

CEO Profile – Simon Levine

CEO Profile – Simon Levine

Personal Information

Name: Simon Levine

Law Firm: DLA Piper

Position: CEO and Managing Partner

Years in Position: 7 years

Practice Area: IP

Simon Levine is the Global co-CEO and Managing Partner of the law firm DLA Piper. He did his BA (Hons) in Law, followed by an MA, from the University of Cambridge.

Simon is highly regarded in the firm due to his vast experience, having represented popular individuals, charities, and companies in many industries, especially media, new media, sports and manufacturing. His main work has been on aspects of copyright, design rights, patents, and breach of confidence matters. He has experience in the High Court, the Copyright Tribunal, the Court of Appeal, the House of Lords and Privy Council, as well as the Trademark Registry. Many of these cases have come into the interest of mainstream media.

At the firm, Simon started as the Joint Global Head of Intellectual Property and Technology group, working his way up to the International Executive and Global Board before reaching his current position.

Outside the firm, Simon is also a visiting Professor at the Imperial College Business School in London, imparting knowledge about innovation and entrepreneurship.

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