White & Case elects first female chair

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By Emily Hinkley on


Heather McDevitt takes the helm after twenty years at US giant

Heather McDevitt

White & Case has elected its first female leader.

Heather McDevitt is a New York-based litigator who qualified in the US and later came to White & Case as a partner in 2002. Since then, she has led the firm’s pharmaceutical & healthcare global industry group between 2013 and 2019 and joined the firm’s global executive committee in 2019. McDevitt take ups the new role on 1 September.

She replaces the outgoing chair, Hugh Verrier, whose 16-year tenure from 2007 to 2023 has seen the partnership grow by 60%, an addition of 249 partners.

Congratulating McDevitt on her successful election, Verrier said: “White & Case is a great law firm with a great future under her leadership. It has been and remains my privilege to lead it through a period of remarkable change over the past 16 years.”

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Commenting on her election success, McDevitt said:

“It is a great honour to be elected by my fellow partners as chair of White & Case. I look forward to working with our talented and dedicated partners and colleagues across the globe to ensure our firm continues to provide exceptional service to our clients. Building upon the success that has defined our journey under Hugh’s leadership, I am dedicated to the continued growth of our firm in the years to come.”

McDevitt joins a growing list of women lawyers appointed to senior positions within their respective firms in recent years.

In 2021 Ashurst announced the appointment of its first female global chair, Hogan Lovells appointed its solo chair, while Linklaters and Clyde & Co both confirmed their first female senior partners. Elsewhere, Herbert Smith Freehills installed its first female senior partner and chair, while Georgia Dawson made history by becoming the magic circle’s first female leader when she assumed the role of senior partner at Freshfields in 2020.

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