Goodwin Procter Chairman Emeritus Regina Pisa was honored by Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession (CLP) at its first annual “Women as Lawyers and as Leaders” awards on May 12 in New York City. Pisa received the inaugural Award for Professional Excellence for her role as the first woman elected chairman and managing partner of an AmLaw 100 law firm. Fellow honorees included Roberta Cooper Ramo, the first woman to lead the ABA and ALI; Mary Ann Hynes, the first female general counsel of a Fortune 500 company; and presenter Paulette Brown, the first African-American woman to lead the ABA.
The CLP seeks to make a substantial contribution to the modern practice of law by increasing understanding of the structures, norms and dynamics of the global legal profession. The group conducts, sponsors and publishes empirical research on the profession of law; innovates and implements new methods for teaching law students, practicing attorneys and related professionals about the profession; and fosters a broad and deep connection between practitioners and the academy. CLP’s Advisory Board includes 29 members representing senior executives from leading public and private companies such as Clorox, Microsoft and Goldman Sachs, as well as law firm leaders from Clifford Chance, Mayer Brown and DLA Piper, among others.
Pisa led Goodwin Procter as Chairman, and before that Managing Partner, for more than 16 years, from 1998 through September 2014. She was the first woman to lead an AmLaw 100 law firm in the United States and one of the youngest executives ever to take the helm at the time of her appointment. A recognized national business leader, Pisa’s vision and leadership fostered an unprecedented period of growth for Goodwin Procter. Shortly after assuming her leadership role in 1998, she spearheaded a strategic plan that raised the firm to national prominence. The plan resulted in an expansion to several new markets, an intense focus on high-growth practice areas and the acquisition of lateral attorneys in key markets. Under her strategic guidance, Goodwin Procter transformed dramatically from a major regional law firm with gross revenues of $172.5 million and approximately 300 attorneys, to a leading national firm with more than $770 million in revenue and more than 850 attorneys.
The American Lawyer recently recognized Pisa’s innovative leadership style and vision for big ideas, naming her one of the “Top 50 Big Law Innovators of the Past 50 Years,” noting “over the last 50 years a few dozen men and women have had an outsize impact on the profession. . . the people whose ideas, policies, and practices have left an indelible mark on the legal industry over the last five decades.”
Pisa is also a recognized pioneer in advancing leadership for women in the legal, business and academic communities. As a leader at Goodwin and in the legal industry, she has worked to dismantle gender and cultural stereotypes, and facilitate mentorship, business development training and work/life balance for all women. Her efforts and Goodwin’s have been recognized by Working Mother, which has named Goodwin to the exclusive “Best Law Firms for Women” for five consecutive years. Pisa also serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Simmons College, a nationally recognized private university in Boston offering an undergraduate education for women that focuses on developing women for leadership.
In addition to Pisa’s role as the firm’s chairman emeritus and as a thought leader in the legal industry, she continues to practice law, advising clients in the financial services industry and representing well-known banks and investment companies. She is a former director of Citizens Financial Group, and her merger and acquisition work with financial institutions has earned her and the firm national recognition and a place among the nation’s top bank M&A practices. Pisa is listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, U.S. News-Best Lawyers and LawDragon 500.