New hire gives Patterson Belknap an all-female C-suite, a firm first

Workers cast shadows as they stroll among the office towers Sydney’s Barangaroo business district in Australia’s largest city, May 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed

For the first time in Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler’s history – and in a rarity for Big Law – the firm has a C-suite executive team made up entirely of women.

The New York-based law firm marked the milestone Tuesday with the arrival of Sheetal Gupta, who joins the now six-member female executive slate as chief information officer from management consulting firm Oliver Wyman Group.

Patterson Belknap’s managing partner is also a woman, Lisa Cleary. She serves as firm co-chair alongside Peter Tomlinson.

“We are thrilled to have Sheetal join our leadership team,” Cleary said in a statement. She added that Patterson Belknap is “also very excited to have an all woman C-Suite for the first time in the firm’s history.” The firm was founded in 1919.

The all-female C-suite may even be a first in Big Law, which has long struggled with diverse representation in its upper ranks.

The other members of 200-lawyer Patterson Belknap’s leadership team are chief operating officer Sally King; chief people, diversity and professional development officer Michelle Cohen; chief business development officer Jenni Dickson; and chief financial officer Theresa Wilson, the firm said.

Gupta replaces Robert Holloway, who started this month as chief information officer at Ballard Spahr.

As Patterson Belknap’s chief information officer, Gupta will lead and direct information technology functions and make sure the firm’s IT strategy aligns with the its overall strategy, the firm said. At Marsh McLennan-owned Oliver Wyman, she most recently served as an executive director. Earlier in her career she was vice president of global technology at Marsh McLennan.

“We will miss her but are delighted for her taking on the CIO role at Patterson Belknap, a firm that we admire as a leader in the legal world,” Vikram Mody, partner and chief information officer at Oliver Wyman, said of Gupta in an emailed statement.

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Sara Merken