Stradley Ronon is pleased to announce that longstanding executive director Gillian G. Facher has decided to step down from her position, a role she has held since 1991, and will now serve as the firm’s partner acquisitions officer. As part of the firm’s planned leadership transition, Marissa Parker, former deputy executive director and partner, succeeded Facher as COO, effective Jan. 1.
“The Stradley Ronon community is deeply indebted to Gillian for her strong leadership and innumerable contributions to the firm over the last 40 years,” said Co-Chairman and Managing Partner Jeff A. Lutsky. “Gillian has helped empower a diverse workplace, create a strong and sustainable culture and shape Stradley into the national financial services firm that it is today, and I am very confident that with Marissa leading the firm as COO, we will continue our success and thrive under her guidance.”
As COO, Parker works closely with the members of the management committee in overseeing the firm’s operations, including talent, information technology and security, administration, and knowledge management, and supporting the development and implementation of the firm’s strategy. Reflecting the drive towards greater operational agility, the firm also created the role of director of knowledge management, tapping Sarah Andrews, former knowledge management counsel at Morgan Lewis & Bockius.
As director of knowledge management, Andrews is responsible for creating and evangelizing the firm’s knowledge management program. Andrews will support and help innovate the performance of legal teams by transforming how they capture, curate and share collective knowledge. She has spent more than 15 years in Big Law, enhancing the efficiency and accuracy with which teams tackle legal and operational projects.
“Establishing this director role formalizes our emphasis on knowledge management best practices firmwide and the nexus with our business strategy to improve efficiencies and leverage data wherever possible,” said Parker. “Better knowledge management practices will buttress our culture of information sharing, leading to stronger and faster outcomes for our lawyers and clients. I am thrilled that Sarah will be leading us in these endeavors.”
Andrews began her legal career as an employment litigator with a focus on client counseling, then transitioned her practice to knowledge management. She served as a judicial clerk to Chief Justice Ralph J. Cappy of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and Chief Judge Gary L. Lancaster of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. She earned her J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law, her M.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Pittsburgh and her B.A., magna cum laude, from Gannon University.
In other senior leadership changes, Janet L. Roedell transitioned to the firm’s chief administrative officer. Roedell, a member of the firm for 25 years, oversees the firm’s service departments and employees, including records, client intake, mail, document services, purchasing, catering and reception. She also oversees facilities management in all offices, including oversight of all firmwide real estate initiatives, leases, office relocations, commercial insurance/risk management compliance, contract administration and security.
In her new role as partner acquisitions officer, Facher works with firm lawyers and business professionals to attract and obtain top legal talent in all of Stradley Ronon’s markets. Facher is responsible for aligning the firm’s lateral acquisition needs with its strategic plan, client demand and targeted areas of growth. She works closely with department and practice group chairs, the firm’s management committee and the board of directors to identify and recruit qualified partner candidates across all geographies and areas of legal specialty. After 40 years at Stradley Ronon, Facher requested a smaller role with the firm so that she could devote more time to her passion: feeding people.
Facher joined Stradley Ronon in 1982, and during her four-decade career, she had taken on numerous roles, starting as a bankruptcy paralegal before making a move into firm administration when she was promoted to recruiting coordinator. She assumed broader responsibilities and was promoted to director of human resources and administrative services. She was promoted to executive director in January 1991, and at that time, she was one of only a dozen women across the country holding the top position at a law firm, and to the best of the firm’s knowledge, she was the only one who was openly gay. Facher has played a leadership role in numerous firm initiatives, including business development programs for partners and associates, leadership and coaching programs and the expansion of strategically important practices.
Many lawyers and business professionals refer to Facher as their mentor, and she is admitted by her peers, colleagues and many in the legal industry for her ability to navigate the ever-changing legal industry. She was recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of its Diverse Leaders in Business.
Parker’s career at the firm began when she joined Stradley Ronon as a summer associate in 2006. A successful and tenacious litigator, for 15 years Parker handled cases for a full range of clients, including health care entities, mutual funds, Fortune 500 corporations and nonprofit organizations in complex, high-stakes litigation matters. During her attorney tenure, Parker rose in the ranks from associate to partner, served as vice chair of the 70-attorney litigation department, co-chair of the investment management litigation practice and chair of the hiring committee. In the latter role, Parker revamped the firm’s entry-level associate recruiting efforts, with particular emphasis on continuing to build a diverse body of accomplished associates who are resilient self-starters and leaders to reduce unconscious bias and emphasize behavioral assessments of candidates through structured panel interviews.
About Stradley Ronon
Counseling clients since 1926, Stradley Ronon has helped private and public companies – from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations – achieve their goals by providing pragmatic, value-driven legal counsel. With offices in eight strategic locations, our responsive team of more than 200 attorneys seamlessly addresses the full spectrum of our clients’ needs, ranging from sophisticated corporate transactions to complex commercial litigation.