Duane Morris has added a sixth partner to its executive committee, which usually consists of five members, in an effort to bring greater geographic representation and gender diversity into the firm’s top leadership ranks.
Partner Dominica Anderson is the newest executive committee member. She practices out of the firm’s Las Vegas and San Francisco offices, and is managing partner of the Las Vegas office.
A lawyer for over 30 years, Anderson was part of Hancock Rothert & Bunshoft, which merged with Duane Morris in 2005. She has led the Las Vegas office since then.
“Without much representation on the West Coast, it was really brilliant of the executive committee, if they were going to expand, to have some representation on the West Coast as well,” Anderson said in an interview.
Duane Morris has over 100 lawyers across its West Coast offices. It has locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, San Diego, Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Seattle, according to the firm’s website.
The firm’s other executive committee members are firm chairman Matthew Taylor and vice chairman Thomas Servodidio, who are both based in Philadelphia, Woody Jameson in Atlanta, Brian Kerwin in Chicago and Susan Laws in London.
While the firm has usually had five executive committee members, the partnership agreement allows for up to six, Anderson said. So with Duane Morris’ growth to more than 800 lawyers in recent years, she said it seemed appropriate to add one more member, which created the opportunity to elevate a woman partner and include someone in a region not already represented on the committee.
“Whether you’re geographically diverse or diverse in other ways, you bring a different thought process and representation to the table,” she said.
In announcing Anderson’s new leadership role, Duane Morris highlighted its efforts to advance the careers of women in the firm. In its new industry-focused marketing initiative, 14 women were appointed as industry group leaders, and five of its six new partners this year are female, the firm said.
“Elevating our women and diverse lawyers is more than doing the right thing. It’s the right business decision for our firm and our clients,” Taylor said in a statement Monday.
Anderson is a commercial litigator, whose practice includes representing insurance companies in coverage disputes and corporate governance matters. She also handles contract disputes and unfair competition, false advertising, business interference, intellectual property, securities and antitrust matters. She is a team lead for Duane Morris’ fashion, retail and consumer branded products industry group.
Anderson has also served on the firm’s governing partners board, and is vice chair of its Women’s Impact Network for Success Steering Committee.
In considering diversity, or lack thereof, in law firm leadership, “It’s easy to say these people aren’t ready to retire, so we’ll promote women in the future,” Anderson said. But creating new leadership opportunities can be important to advancing a firm’s culture, she said.
For women lawyers, she said, that creates the feeling that “if you do well at your job, and you exhibit leadership ability, there will be a place for you.”