HARRISBURG (May 5, 2022) — Philadelphia lawyer Kathleen D. Wilkinson, a partner at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, will become the 2022-23 immediate past president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) at the conclusion of the association’s House of Delegates meeting, May 13, in Hershey.
Wilkinson is currently completing her term as the association’s 2021-22 president. She began her term on April 27, 2021.
She has focused on issues related to lawyer wellness as well as the association’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts. Wilkinson championed the PBA’s adoption of a wellness pledge to guide employers in their efforts to help lawyer balance work and life responsibilities. Wilkinson was a moderator or speaker at numerous programs presented by the PBA and at local bar associations about the wellness pledge, mindfulness, practicing law with professionalism and civility to reduce stress in the practice of law. In coordination with the PBA Commission on Women in the Profession, Wilkinson supported the development of a series of lunchtime wellness sessions. She pulled together the PBA DEI Team and several committees and sections to expand the association’s DEI forums and continuing legal education sessions, including issuing a public statement and developing a continuing legal education program on the importance of recognizing Juneteenth. Wilkinson also produced a program about Harriet Tubman, featuring the executive director of the Harriet Tubman Museum of Cape May, N.J., and a program about the role of civility with diversity and inclusion.
Wilkinson worked with the PBA Commission on Women in the Profession and the Minority Bar Committee on the association’s inaugural program featuring trailblazing women judges and lawyers who have paved the way for others. marking International Women’s Day, which marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity and celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
In addition, Wilkinson spoke out on the rule of law, judicial independence and the importance of pro bono work. She issued a statement about Ukraine and how lawyers can help, including providing guidance on how lawyers can help Ukrainian immigrants. Wilkinson also issued statements and spoke out about the nomination and confirmation of the first black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, her qualifications and the PBA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Wilkinson was named a 2021 “Power Woman of the Main Line,” by Main Line Today magazine, which covers the suburbs of Philadelphia, due to her work as the PBA’s sixth woman president.
Wilkinson was the 2020-21 PBA president-elect and the 2019-20 vice president.
Additional recent efforts to support the organized bar have focused on issues related to the ongoing pandemic. She served on the PBA COVID-19 Task Force that provided timely information to assist lawyers in their practices during the pandemic. She was a member of the Joint Task Force on Continuity of Delivery of Legal Services that issued a comprehensive report offering recommendations such as technology enhancements so that citizens have access to justice during the current pandemic and future emergencies.
She is the current co-chair of the Membership Subcommittee of the PBA Commission on Women in the Profession. She also is a PBA appointed delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates.
Wilkinson is a member of more than 20 PBA committees, including the Finance, Membership Development and Minority Bar committees.
Wilkinson has represented Philadelphia lawyers on the PBA Board of Governors. She has served in the PBA House of Delegates. She is a past chair of educational programs for the PBA Federal Practice Committee Executive Council, past co-vice chair of the PBA Planning Committee, past co-vice chair of the PBA Quality of Life/Balance Committee, past co-chair of the Commission on Women in the Profession Quality of Life Committee, past co-chair of the Commission on Women in the Profession and past chair of the PBA Civil Litigation Section.
She was chair of the PBA Membership Engagement Blue Ribbon Panel on Millennials, Mothers and Minorities. 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.
Wilkinson is a Life Fellow of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the PBA, and previously served as the foundation’s zone one director.
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, she and remains an active member of the NCBP Program and Diversity Committees. 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 professional impact on women in the law.
Wilkinson is a member of the Chester County Bar Association, Delaware County Bar Association (honorary) and the Montgomery Bar Association.
Wilkinson recently served as the vice-present of programs for the Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel, which presented her with the William J. O’Brien Award for achievements in legal advocacy and improvements in the legal profession 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. Wilkinson received the Inn’s J. Clayton Undercofler III Award for exemplary leadership, integrity and dedication to the rule of law in 2013.
A civil litigator with more than 30 years of experience, Wilkinson is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, defends complex cases involving employment, professional liability, construction, products, toxic tort, medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Wilkinson also serves as a judge pro tem and special master in state and federal court. Wilkinson has been a member of Wilson Elser’s Women Attorneys Valued and Empowered (WAVE) initiative that focuses on advancement and well-being of women in the profession.
The Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly named her “Woman of the Year” in 2007-2008.
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 Advisors of the law school.
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.