Pittsburgh Attorney Dusty Elias Kirk to Be Recognized for Her Significant Professional Impact on Women in the Legal Profession

HARRISBURG (April. 16, 2021) — The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Commission on Women in the Profession (WIP) will present its annual Anne X. Alpern Award to Pittsburgh attorney Dusty Elias Kirk, a partner at Reed Smith, on May 19 at an awards luncheon during the Commission on Women in the Profession (WIP) Annual Conference held as part of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Virtual Annual Meeting.

The Alpern Award is presented annually to a female lawyer or judge who demonstrates excellence in the legal profession and who makes a significant professional impact on women in the law. Established in 1994, the award was named for Anne X. Alpern, Pennsylvania’s attorney general in 1959 and the first woman state attorney general in the nation.

Since joining Reed Smith in 2010, Kirk has been an active participant and stalwart supporter of the firm’s Women’s Initiative Network of Reed Smith, a dedicated community of lawyers that operates as a “Virtual Practice Group” across Reed Smith’s global platform dedicated to further enhancing its workplace to more effectively attract, develop, retain and promote women lawyers. As a role model and mentor of female members of the firm in Pittsburgh and throughout the global real estate group, she is among the firm’s staunchest supporters of and contributors to the career advancement and success of the firm’s female attorneys. Kirk was also among the first attorneys to participate in the Pittsburgh Business Times BizWomen Mentoring program, including Bizwomen Mentoring Monday.

She is involved in both formal and informal mentoring of women at every level across various practice groups at Reed Smith. She also generously shares her knowledge, time and other resources to help Pennsylvania women in the real estate profession and women in other key business sectors statewide achieve their personal, community service and career goals. In recognition of her efforts in engaging, guiding and supporting the career advancement of women, Kirk was honored as a Greater Pittsburgh Athena Award finalist for demonstrating excellence in the legal profession, contributing to the local community and helping other women succeed through mentorship.

An active member of the PBA WIP, Kirk is a member of its Executive Council, co-chair of the Spring Planning Committee and the WIP/MBC Joint Committee to Address Executive Order.

She has been recognized with numerous awards honoring her work advancing issues pertinent to women in the law and civic work, including the 2014 Honorable Sylvia A. Rambo Award from the Penn State (Dickinson) School of Law Women’s Law Caucus recognizing distinguished careers and those who have made the professional success of other women more likely by way of example; Pittsburgh Business Times 2013 Business Women First Award, Real Estate Forum's 2012 "Women of Influence" list recognizing women helping to shape the commercial real estate industry throughout the United States; 2012 "Leading Lady" by Oakland Catholic High School honoring leaders in philanthropy, business, education and the arts, and; 2011 Women of Achievement Honor by Celebrate & Share for outstanding accomplishments and contributions to her community.

At Reed Smith, Kirk concentrates her practice on all aspects of real estate development, acquisitions and economic incentives, with an emphasis on real estate litigation, including real estate tax-assessment appeals, land-use and zoning appeals and eminent domain proceedings.

Early in her career, she was renowned as Pennsylvania’s “Queen of Malls” for securing the state’s first voluntary local real estate tax abatement on behalf of the developers of Robinson Township’s initial mall project, including facilitating the completion of a significant highway interchange that made the project possible. In the nearly three decades since then, she has collaborated on dozens of similar mall projects to enhance economic development and the prosperity of communities statewide, collaborating with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, private developers, state and municipal tax authorities and other entities to support the infrastructure improvements that such complex projects require. In addition, Kirk has played a key role in expanding on Pennsylvania’s first community benefits agreement and its follow-up agreement known as the Community Collaboration and Implementation Plan, which she initially structured for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In addition to her PBA involvement, Kirk is a past member of the Allegheny County Bar Association Board of Governors and chair of its Real Property Section. She serves on the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board and is a former Disciplinary Board hearing officer appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. She currently chairs the Core Steering Committee of the Urban Land Institute’s (Pittsburgh Chapter) Women’s Leadership Institute whose mission is to raise the visibility and number of women leaders in the real estate industry, including female attorneys. Kirk is also a member of several boards of directors: Board Chair, Allegheny Regional Asset District, Chatham University's Pennsylvania Center for Women in Politics Advisory Board encouraging female attorneys and others interested in pursuing elective office, Dress for Success Worldwide and Riverlife.

Kirk graduated from Allegheny College and Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law.

For more information on the WIP awards luncheon or the PBA Virtual Annual Meeting, visit https://www.pabar.org/pdf/2021/2021AnnualMeeting.pdf.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access of legal services; and serve the lawyer members of the state’s largest organized bar association.