Catherine Hanaway, newly chosen as Husch Blackwell‘s chair-elect, will join a small cadre of women leading Am Law 200 firms. But that’s not the only way she stands out from the crowd. Hanaway brings a background in government and politics to a job typically held by a Big Law veteran.

Hanaway said her varied experience provides her with the skill set to run the 622-lawyer firm, pointing to her time as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri and as speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives. She also ran for governor, but lost in the Republican primary in 2016.