Philadelphia lawyer Kathleen D. Wilkinson, a partner at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, is president-elect of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Wilkinson will serve as the association’s 2021-22 president.
Wilkinson has represented Philadelphia lawyers on the PBA Board of Governors and she has served in the PBA House of Delegates. She is chair of educational programs for the Federal Practice Committee Executive Council, co-vice chair of the PBA Planning Committee, co-vice chair of the PBA Quality of Life/Balance Committee, co-chair of the Commission on Women in the Profession Quality of Life Committee and the immediate past chair of the PBA Civil Litigation Section. Wilkinson is a member of other committees, including the Finance, Membership Development and Minority Bar committees. She was chair of the PBA Membership Engagement Blue Ribbon Panel on Millennials, Mothers and Minorities, and is a past chair of the PBA Commission on Women in the Profession. In addition, Wilkinson served on the board of directors for PBI (Pennsylvania Bar Institute) and was a zone one director for the PABAR-PAC, the PBA’s political action committee, and co-chair of the 2007 PBA Midyear Meeting.
She is a zone one director and a Life Fellow of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the PBA.
In 2013, Wilkinson served as the 86th chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, only the sixth woman to serve in that position in the association’s history. She has filled a variety of leadership roles in the Philadelphia Bar Association since 1998 when she co-chaired the association’s Women in the Profession Committee. She was the bar association’s secretary, vice chancellor, chancellor-elect and a member of the bar association’s cabinet. She served on the Board of Governors for a total of 16 years. Wilkinson was the 2019 chair of the Federal Courts Committee. Wilkinson is the recipient of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s 2019 Sandra Day O’Connor Award, which is presented to a woman attorney who has demonstrated superior legal talent, achieved significant legal accomplishments and has furthered the advancement of women in both the profession and the community.
Wilkinson was a member of the Executive Council of the National Conference of Bar Presidents from 2013 to 2016, and remains an active member of the NCBP Program Committee. Wilkinson served on the boards of directors for the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program (VIP) and Philadelphia Defender Association. Wilkinson served on the board of the Forum of Executive Women from July 2014 until June 2016 and was the program chair. She has served on other boards in the community.
In 2019, Wilkinson received the C. Dale McClain Quality of Life/Balance Award, an annual award presented by the PBA Quality of Life Balance Committee that recognizes the substantial contributions made by Pennsylvania attorneys in identifying issues relevant to balancing the professional and personal lives of their peers, as well as the progress made in assisting attorneys in maintaining and improving their overall quality of life. She received the Gilbert Nurick Award from the PBA Conference of County Bar Leaders in 2014 for outstanding service to local bar associations. She was the recipient of the PBA Commission on Women in the Profession’s Anne X. Alpern Award in 2008 for her demonstrated leadership in the legal profession and community.
Wilkinson is a member of the Chester County Bar Association, Delaware County Bar Association and the Montgomery Bar Association.
Wilkinson is the secretary of the Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel, which presented her with the William J. O’Brien Award in 2016.
She is a founding member of Villanova University’s School of Law J. Willard O’Brien Inn of Court, was its first woman president in 2004 and serves as an Honorary Member of the Inn.
A civil litigator with more than 30 years of experience, Wilkinson defends complex cases involving employment, professional liability, construction, products, asbestos, medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Wilkinson also serves as a judge pro tem and special master in state and federal court.
The Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly named her “Woman of the Year” in 2007-2008. She was named one of the top 50 Women Attorneys in Pennsylvania in 2018 by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers.
She is a summa cum laude graduate of Kean University, which named her “Alumni of the Year” in 2010. She received her juris doctorate from the Villanova University School of Law. In 2013, the Villanova Law Alumni Association named her the recipient of the Gerald Abraham Alumni Association Award for service to the law school. She is also a member of the Alumni Association Board of the law school.