Back in the late 1970s, Charles 
Queenan’s hopes of building Pittsburgh’s Kirkpatrick, Lockhart, Johnson & Hutchison into a national law firm seemed quixotic. The city, with its dying steel mills, had become a poster child for U.S. industrial decay, and as the economy sputtered, so did the local legal market. Prospects for Kirkpatrick didn’t seem bright.

But Queenan, then Kirkpatrick’s chair, stuck to a growth strategy. Thanks in large part to the groundwork he laid, the firm, now K&L Gates, ranks as the eighth-largest law firm in the country by headcount, and the 17th largest by revenue.

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