Morgan Lewis Elects Phila. Litigator as New Chair
Milone said that although geography was not a consideration in McKeon's election, the work she did spearheading the firm's West Coast expansion and helping to integrate the new hires in California was part of what made her such a well-qualified candidate to lead the firm.
McKeon said her experience on both coasts has given her a useful perspective on how Morgan Lewis operates as a whole.
"If lawyers weren't limited by bar admission membership, it would be terrific for firm leadership to spend a lot of time in other geographies," McKeon said. "It allows you to get a sense of how clients see things in other legal markets and how your colleagues see things."
McKeon has spent her entire career at Morgan Lewis, joining the firm in 1981 after graduating from Villanova University School of Law. (Milone, then a young partner, is among those she spoke to during interviews.) Over the years, she has helped lead the Philadelphia litigation practice, and later the entire group; served on the compensation, professional evaluation, and recruiting committees; and been a longstanding member of the firm's advisory board.
In 2011, she helped create a new associate training program along with client Matthew Biben, general counsel of JPMorgan Chase's consumer and community banking division, that sees a few associates each year start their career at the banking giant before coming back to Morgan Lewis.
D'Amore called McKeon a "real in-the-trenches, top-notch lawyer."
"She's very bright, dedicated and tenacious," D'Amore said. "I know from personal experience a couple of her key clients who absolutely revere her. She's the real deal from a practice standpoint."
Cooney, who has known McKeon since 1982, when he was still a law student, called her a "remarkably talented" lawyer who has been a "transformative leader" in the firm's litigation practice.
McKeon said she plans to continue her litigation practice after she takes over as chairwoman.
"If you're in a firm or company where the focus is on serving clients, then being involved yourself in client service helps you shape the direction of the firm," McKeon said. "I think it's important for the leaders of a firm to stay very close to the practice."