Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Kathleen Wilkinson Leads Philadelphia Bar Association
Philadelphia Bar Association's Annual Meeting as the 2013 Chancellor of the Association, the nation's oldest, chartered bar association.
Kathleen is a wonderful person and she and her husband, Tom are a certified Pennsylvania Power Couple. She now leads the Philadelphia Bar Association while he leads the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Apparently, this is the first time this has ever happened.
As incoming Chancellor Wilkinson believes that evoking professionalism in one's daily work is an inherent responsibility for all attorneys.
"Philadelphia lawyers are the caretakers of our profession," says Wilkinson. "As keepers of the legacy of Andrew Hamilton, we, as Philadelphia lawyers, proudly represent the legal profession to the world."
Wilkinson will be the Association's 86th Chancellor and only the sixth woman to serve in this capacity in its 210-year history. Her term begins on Jan. 1, 2013. In an address on Dec. 4 at the Hyatt at The Bellevue, she will discuss her plans - including her commitment to making the Association more inclusive - and reinforce her personal philosophy that one can be soft-spoken, courteous and respectful while remaining a highly effective advocate.
Wilkinson will also highlight "where we have been, and where we are going" as a bar association. Her vision for the future includes the creation of new initiatives focusing on generational transition and leadership opportunities for women, attorneys of diverse backgrounds and young lawyers new to the profession.
Wilkinson completed her undergraduate studies in political science and education at Kean College in two-and-a-half years. She attended Villanova University School of Law where, on her very first day on campus, she met Tom Wilkinson, her future husband of 27 years. A member of the Commercial Litigation Department at Cozen O'Connor, he currently serves as president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. While the Wilkinsons did not plan on overlapping terms as leaders of the state's two largest bar associations, they share a common passion for advancing the interests of the legal profession.
Wilkinson joined the Philadelphia office of Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP in 1984, where she steadily excelled to become one of the early women equity partners in a law firm that employs 800 lawyers around the country.
A litigator with more than 30 years of experience, Wilkinson built her practice and earned her reputation defending complex cases involving construction, insurance, professional liability, medical devices and pharmaceuticals, and a variety of other products. She has also served as a judge pro tem and discovery master, earning the respect of the bench and bar.
Among her leadership roles at the Bar Association, Wilkinson has served as co-chair of the Women in the Profession Committee and chair of the State Civil Litigation Section. She was elected as a member of the Board of Governors, then assistant secretary and later secretary of the Association. Wilkinson was elected Vice Chancellor in 2010 and served as Chancellor-Elect last year.
Wilkinson serves on numerous pro bono and civic boards, and is a founding member of Villanova Law's J. Willard O'Brien American Inn of Court and served as the Inn's first woman president. In 2008, she received the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Anne X. Alpern Award - the highest award given to a Pennsylvania woman attorney.
Kathleen and Tom Wilkinson have three children: Lindsey, a first-year student at Villanova Law; Lauren, a junior at Franklin & Marshall College presently studying in France; and Michael, an eighth grader at Episcopal Academy.
Residents of Haverford, Pa., the Wilkinsons can also be found enjoying their beloved Cape May, N.J., where they are active in several community organizations.