Herrick Feinstein Names 1st Female Executive Chair
Belinda G. Schwartz shares her views on diversity with Law360 as she takes on her role as the first female Executive Chair at Herrick.
Belinda succeeds Irwin A. Kishner, who has reached his term limit after serving as Herrick's Executive Chair since 2010. Irwin will continue as a member of the executive committee and will remain as co-chair of Herrick's Sports Law Group.
"Belinda was the natural and overwhelming choice to lead the firm in 2023," said Irwin. He added, "It has been my privilege to serve as the executive chair of the firm and to guide a team of remarkable professionals for the past 13 years. I am proud of what the firm has accomplished during this time and enthusiastic about our future."
Belinda is one of the few women currently leading a major law firm. Belinda said she's optimistic that the example she's showing as someone serving in multiple leadership positions will help the firm stay on track when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion.
"I hope it's helpful to us as we continue on this diverse trajectory," Belinda said. "There's two women on the executive committee, one of the litigation co-chairs is a woman and there's other women partners, and I hope we continue along this path."
Belinda first joined Herrick in 1997. Subsequently, she has served in numerous leadership roles within the firm, including serving the last eight years as chair of Herrick's Real Estate Department and the last six years as a member of the Executive Committee.
"I'm very honored that the firm chose me, and I'm proud for women and anyone who might have thought that something was impossible," Belinda told Law360. "At the same time, it's one of those things where even if you're honored and excited, you're always a bit anxious because you want to do a great job."
Looking ahead, Belinda explained that some of the main areas of focus for her and the other members of management include strategic growth both in terms of headcount and finances, along with maintaining a high-quality level of service for clients.
"It's my responsibility to ensure, along with other firm leaders, that we provide exceptional service to our clients, maintain the firm culture, and think strategically about how to grow our profits," said Belinda. She added that Herrick will "take the firm's strengths and double down . . . while also figuring out what practice areas might be good to add."
Belinda noted that she plans to continue co-chairing the real estate practice while serving as Executive Chair of Herrick. As part of her practice as a real estate dealmaker, she focuses on family-owned businesses.
"I try to be a really good counselor for families going through succession planning and transitions," she said. "It's a robust practice that's supported by an incredible real estate department at Herrick," she concluded.
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