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Willig, Williams & Davidson Managing Partner Deborah R. Willig Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from The Legal Intelligencer

July 8, 2013

The Legal Intelligencer, on June 27, 2013, honored Philadelphia labor and employment lawyer Deborah R. Willig, Esq. of Willig, Williams & Davidson with a Lifetime Achievement Award presented to a selection of Pennsylvania's most influential attorneys. This was the first year The Legal Intelligencer has presented this award in celebration of its 170th Anniversary. Willig has served as a role model for women attorneys, an advocate for working individuals and their families and as a community leader for more than 35 years.

Each honoree was asked to provide a brief quote or anecdote about what the law has meant to them. Willig said, “I have always viewed the law as an opportunity to effect positive change—to try to achieve fairness and justice for those people and communities without much power or influence of their own: women, people of color, children, LGBT individuals, the disabled, working men and women. To me, the legal profession stands as a testament to the ideal that one person can make a difference by using the legal system to fight for the fulfillment of the promise made by our nation's founding parents—equal justice under law. I have been very fortunate to spend my career with a group of like-minded lawyers collectively working for the common good and to promote a better way of life for working men and women and for the underrepresented in our community. We all have a collective appreciation of the wonderful results that can be accomplished in fighting for justice—not just to provide a level playing field for our clients now, but also to provide a future free of inequalities and filled with opportunity for our children.”

A pioneer in fighting for the rights of women, workers, gays, children and others, Willig co-founded Willig, Williams & Davidson in 1979 and began serving as its managing partner (a post she continues to hold today) during a period when women were substantially underrepresented as attorneys, much less as law firm partners and leaders. She has built a thriving practice and Pennsylvania’s largest labor and employment firms while dedicating her time and talents to assisting many non-profit and professional organizations. In 1992, Willig became the Philadelphia Bar Association’s first-ever woman chancellor. She has also served on and chaired many of the association’s committees including Women’s Rights, Labor Law, Bench-Bar Conference and the Nominating Committees. She also chaired its Task Force on Gender Fairness and was a board member of the Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program. Willig is a member of the American Law Institute, is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, is the immediate past  president of the French International School of Philadelphia and serves on the board of the Juvenile Law Center.

As a labor and employment lawyer, Willig has represented a wide range of labor unions including public school teachers and employees; public health, social and recreation workers; firefighters; teamsters; and orchestra musicians. Her work for both public and private sector unions includes contract negotiations, presenting interest and grievance arbitrations, and advising clients on internal union governance and staff matters. She also maintains an active practice in the representation of employee benefit funds, including jointly administered funds in the public and private sectors. For decades she has participated in every major contract negotiation involving the employees of the City of Philadelphia and its school district. She also maintains an active practice in employee benefit matters.

Willig has received a wide array of prestigious awards and honors including the Agent of Change Award from Women’s Way; the Sandra Day O’Connor Award from the Philadelphia Bar Association; the Labor Human Rights Award from the Jewish Labor Committee; the Israel Labor Medal from the State of Israel Bonds; the Vocational Service Award from the Rotary Club of Philadelphia; the Outstanding Service Award from Pennsylvania Citizen’s Action; the Spirit of Life Award, City of Hope; and the Jewish National Fund’s Attorney of the Year Award. In 2010, Willig was named among The Legal Intelligencer’s Women of Distinction because “she has long been a breaker of glass ceilings and supporter of women in the profession.”

Since 1990, Willig has been consistently selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in the fields of Labor and Employment Law (Copyright 2012 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aikens, S.C.). She has consistently been named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters, published annually in Philadelphia magazine, since 2004.

About Willig, Williams & DavidsonWillig, Williams & Davidson (www.wwdlaw.com) is one of the largest and most respected union-side labor law firms in the United States. The firm has offices in Philadelphia, Media, Jenkintown and Harrisburg, Pa., as well as Haddonfield, N.J. Founded in 1979, Willig, Williams & Davidson focuses on representing labor unions, employee benefit funds and individual working people and their families on a variety of legal fronts, including national, regional and local contract negotiations; dispute resolution through mediation, arbitration and litigation; tax and benefit law compliance issues; discrimination and other employment matters; prepaid legal services for union members; and workers’ compensation matters in Pennsylvania and beyond.

   
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