2019 Women in the Law

For the 2019 “Women in the Law” Business Edition, Best Lawyers chose to feature 39 of its most accomplished female attorneys in corporate-facing practice areas: appellate practice; bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights; corporate law; employee benefits (ERISA) law; employment law – management; environmental law; health care law; labor and employment litigation; and real estate law. These women have demonstrated exceptional skill within their fields, and each have won the “Lawyer of the Year” award three or more times, from the beginning of their careers through 2019. The “Lawyer of the Year” award is the single highest praise a listed lawyer can receive, showcasing individual attorneys with the overall highest peer-reviewed feedback for their specific practice and region. Finally, a number the women honored in this section offered their insight on what makes an attorney succeed within their competitive practice areas, elaborated on accomplishments they feel most proud of from the past year, and gave their take on room for growth in the legal industry.

Appellate Practice

Ellen Lake
Ellen Lake, Oakland, CA
Recognized Since 2006
Virginia Hamilton Snell
Wyatt Tarrant & Combs, Louisville, KY
Recognized Since 2006
Virginia Snell

Litigation - Labor And Employment

Carey Matovich
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"To be successful, any attorney needs competent legal and communication skills, successful leadership ability, appreciation of team members' efforts, and a strong work ethic."

Carey E. Matovich
Matovich, Keller & Huso, Billings, MT
Recognized Since 2003
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"Firms should mentor younger attorneys to help them work the right way, develop clients, and succeed in a law-firm setting. Our firm is focused on diversity, and it reflects on our management committee, which is 40 percent women."

Ann Morgan
Fennemore Craig, Reno, NV
Recognized Since 2006
Ann Morgan
Victoria de Toledo
Casper & De Toledo, Stamford, CT
Recognized Since 1993

Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law

Jennifer H. Callahan
McAfee & Taft, Oklahoma City, OK
Recognized Since 2009
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"I am most proud of the work I’ve done by volunteering as Board President of several nonprofits. My work as Board President of the West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry is far and away the most fulfilling work I have ever done. I helped found the organization and for the past three years we have advocated for refugees, educated community members about the current refugee crisis, provided scholarships here in West Virginia and abroad to help refugees with college and medical school costs, and provided some direct aid to asylum seekers. Through this work I have recently had the opportunity to provide some pro bono legal help with asylum petitions, and I recommend this work to every attorney, especially those experiencing burn out in their practices. I feel a renewed interest in the law from this work, and highly recommend it."
Lynn S. Clarke
Bowles Rice, Charleston, WV
Recognized Since 2011
Lynn Clarke
Loretta R. Richard
Ropes & Gray, Boston, MA
Recognized Since 2006
Lynn Stathas
Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, Madison, WI
Recognized Since 2009
Lynn Stathas

Bankruptcy And Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency And Reorganization Law

Judy Hamilton Morse
Judy Hamilton Morse
Crowe & Dunlevy, Oklahoma City, OK
Recognized Since 1995
Lynn Lewis Tavenner
Tavenner & Beran, Richmond, VA
Recognized Since 2006

Environmental Law

Linda H. Bochert
Michael Best & Friedrich, Madison, WI
Recognized Since 1993
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"For clients facing high-stakes litigation, the most consistently important issue in 2019 continues to be:
What can be done to litigate smarter, in order to minimize costs without sacrificing principled and evidence-based dispute resolution processes?"

Lisa C. Goodheart
Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, Boston, MA
Recognized Since 2006
Lisa Goodheart
Robyn D. Neely
Akerman, Orlando, FL
Recognized Since 2012
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"In my experience, women still work somewhat harder than their male counterparts. I remember, long ago, asking a client why he had hired me from the several lawyers under consideration for the engagement. He said something like, 'women are more honest and they work harder.' I assume all lawyers are honest, but I agree with him about how hard women work. In my experience, women care very deeply about their clients."

Susan E. Reeves
Reeves Amodio, Anchorage, AK
Recognized Since 2005
Susan Reeves
Virginia C. Robbins
Bond, Schoeneck & King, Syracuse, NY
Recognized Since 2007
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"I’m proud of my reputation as a valuable problem solver, both on internal teams and when I am reaching across the table to find resolution. I know the environmental area, but I also know to listen to the needs and expertise of others, which has allowed me to foster productive relationships with business people, regulators, engineers, consultants, and environmental stakeholders. It has also been a privilege to train, support, and encourage other women in this field, not just at my own firm, but in the entire community of environmental professionals. When I started practicing law, I was almost always the only woman at the table. Today, the Women in the Environment chapter in Portland commonly attracts more than 100 women to its events. I know many of these women individually because I’ve watched and encouraged them as their careers have grown."

Joan P. Snyder
Stoel Rives, Portland, OR
Recognized Since 2006
Joan Snyder
Mary Ellen Ternes
Earth & Water Law, Oklahoma City, OK
Recognized Since 2007
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"Law firms seem to hire men and women in equal numbers these days; however, I’ve noticed that women sometimes get overwhelmed as they try to integrate work and family life. Law firms have adopted technology that allow their employees to work remotely, which can be lifesaver when you have a sick child or are just trying to schedule home repairs. Keep investing in technology! Law firms can also foster connections between women and men who are primary or co-caregivers for individuals in their families. Having a support network to lean on really helped me persevere in a career I loved."

Carolyn Jones Van Buren
Van Buren Law, Charlotte, NC
Recognized Since 2003
Carolyn Jones Van Buren

Health Care Law

Laura Bond
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"What has kept me in the profession has been flexibility in scheduling, compensation, and career path. Sometimes life takes some interesting twists and turns. I have watched many of my law school classmates—men and women—turn to other careers when the traditional practice of law no longer fit their circumstances. It seems that, at least in some instances, flexibility on the part of the firms and the lawyers might have kept them in the profession."

Laura J. Bond
Spencer Fane, Kansas City, KS
Recognized Since 2012
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"More than many areas of practice, health law requires substantial industry knowledge, such as familiarity with the wide variety of payment mechanisms for health care services. Like most lawyers, we need to be good analysts and good communicators, and we also need to be conversant with a broad range of laws and rules that apply primarily or only to health care entities and often are not intuitive. It is very easy for a general corporate or real estate lawyer to get a health care client into significant trouble if he or she relies on logic and general legal principals without taking health care laws into account."

Barbara L. Nay
Stoel Rives, Portland, OR
Recognized Since 2005
Barbara Nay
Maria Nutile
Nutile Law, Las Vegas, NV
Recognized Since 2007
Elizabeth T. Thomas
Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, Charleston, SC
Recognized Since 2010

Real Estate Law

Karen Dennison
Holland & Hart, Reno, NV
Recognized Since 1993
Maryellen F. Goodlatte
Glenn Feldmann Darby & Goodlatte, Roanoke, VA
Recognized Since 2006
Valerie Wagner Long
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"In my career, I'm most proud of being able to help play a role in shaping the built environment in my community.'"

Valerie Wagner Long
Williams Mullen, Charlottesville, VA
Recognized Since 2009
Susan E. Rich
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, Chattanooga, TN
Recognized Since 2005
Susan Talley
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"It is incumbent on women who have navigated the challenges of being a female in the profession to mentor the next generation of women lawyers. That means more than paying lip service to diversity. It is up to us to promote young women for leadership positions in bar and industry organizations, to talk them up to our clients and to think of other women when making local counsel and conflict referrals."

Susan G. Talley
Stone Pigman Walther Wittman, New Orleans, LA
Recognized Since 1995

Employment Law - Management

Elizabeth Kaleva
Kaleva Law Office, Missoula, MT
Recognized Since 2004
Karen L. O'Connor
Stoel Rives, Portland, OR
Recognized Since 2010
Patricia M. Rapinchuk
Robinson Donovan, Springfield, MA
Recognized Since 2010
Cathleen P. Welsh
Lenhart Pettit, Charlottesville, VA
Recognized Since 2006
Claudette Wilson
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"As the managing partner of a successful women-owned firm, I am often asked by other firm leaders and clients how they could improve their gender diversity. My answer is always the same: You need to have women in positions of authority to see your female employees stay with your organization and thrive. Having women in positions of authority assures that issues important to women are considered and hopefully implemented, and also lets junior women see a path to success for themselves."

Claudette G. Wilson
Wilson Turner Kosmo, San Diego, CA
Recognized Since 2007

Corporate Law

Emily S. Waugh
Ausley McMullen, Tallahassee, FL
Recognized Since 2010

Immigration Law

KahBo Dye-Chiew
Law Offices of KahBo Dye-Chiew, Honolulu, HI
Recognized Since 2006
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"The significantly increased processing times for immigration benefits has been the most important issue to my clients in 2019. The increases in processing times and the elimination of premium (expedited) processing in many cases is making it more difficult for companies to run their businesses and for their employees to have predictability and certainty in their lives."

Laura A. Edgerton
Edgerton Immigration Law, Raleigh, NC
Recognized Since 2008
Laura Edgerton
Tammy Fox-Isicoff
Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, Miami, FL
Recognized Since 2007
Melanie Gurley Keeney
Tueth Keeney Cooper Mohan & Jackstadt, St. Louis, MO
Recognized Since 1997
Glorily Lopez
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"One of the most satisfying part of my career has been seeing clients achieve their immigration goals. This has been particularly true for same-sex couples that I have represented. For a long time, immigration attorneys had to be very creative in finding other paths to lawful immigration for clients that could not file marriage-based cases because of their sexual orientation. Once the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional in June 2013, we were finally able to file these same-sex, marriage-based immigration cases, which was extremely rewarding. Separately, I am very proud of the different roles I have held at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), including various officer positions such as AILA Wisconsin Chapter Chair, Vice-Chair, and Liaison to important government agencies. Practicing in a field as ever-changing as immigration law, it is important to develop strong channels of communication with the agencies with which we interface, as this allows us to resolve issues facing our clients. My work as AILA Wisconsin Chapter Liaison to several of these agencies has been gratifying because it provides important information and solutions for my colleagues and our clients."

Glorily A. Lopez
Murphy Desmond, Madison, WI
Recognized Since 2007
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