On Oct. 1, Jami Wintz McKeon became one of the most powerful women in the legal field. As the new chair of Morgan Lewis, she now oversees more than 1,400 lawyers and 4,000 employees in 25 offices globally. Only a handful of the world’s law firms are led by women, and McKeon is the first to do so at Morgan Lewis.
Ask McKeon how she managed such success, and her answer is simple: “Hard work.” The Wayne resident has been at Morgan Lewis since graduating from Villanova University School of Law in 1981. Through it all, she’s juggled the roles of
high-powered attorney, wife and mother of four children.
And what about her husband, John Hollway, associate dean at the University of Pennsylvania Law School? Has anyone ever asked him how he juggles his career and fatherhood? “Not once,” McKeon says. “I don’t believe that any male lawyer in my firm has felt guilty for not making dinner for his family. But it’s still true that, among a significant number of people, women are thought of as having that responsibility—and we are judged on how we execute it. It’s an extra piece of baggage to struggle with.”
McKeon now has the ability to play a crucial role in altering that perception. “When people see a woman as a head of a law firm, they assume that there is greater diversity at the firm—otherwise, that firm wouldn’t have a woman as its head,” she says. “The diversity gives us strength and richness—not just in gender, race or culture, but in our viewpoints, experience and ideas.”