Madeleine McDonough Elected as Chair of Shook, Hardy & Bacon

Shook, Hardy & Bacon announced today that its partners elected Madeleine McDonough to a five-year term as chair. Shook is nationally recognized as a preeminent firm for complex litigation, particularly in science, medicine and technology; McDonough, a former clinical pharmacist, is widely known in the legal community as a trusted advisor, experienced firm leader and litigation trailblazer.

McDonough’s term will begin on January 1, 2017. A 26-year veteran of the firm, she will succeed John Murphy, who has led Shook for the past 15 years. In 2010, at the beginning of his third term, Murphy announced he would not serve beyond 2016. Over the next six months, Murphy and McDonough will collaborate on a transition plan to ensure Shook maintains and grows its position as a go-to firm for complex, high-stakes matters.

“It has been a wonderful 15-year run, and I am excited to turn the reins over to an individual who is well-equipped to lead Shook into the future,” Murphy said. “Madeleine is a star, and I am excited to see what she will accomplish.”

McDonough: Biography and Highlights

McDonough has considerable leadership experience; she is serving in her 10th year on the Shook Executive Committee and chairs the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Division, the largest practice group of its kind. During her tenure, Shook has represented dozens of major pharmaceutical clients, including each of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies worldwide – Pfizer Inc., GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer, among them.

Before her legal career, McDonough worked as a clinical pharmacist; this scientific background guides her representation of pharmaceutical, medical device, food and cosmetics manufacturers in product liability, regulatory and related issues. McDonough also co-chairs the firm’s Agribusiness and Food Safety and Life Sciences and Biotechnology teams.

“I believe Shook is the best law firm for products – from concept and discovery to intellectual property, business and litigation issues, and environmental needs,” McDonough said. “My first priority as chair will be to continue our focus on state-of-the-art legal services, to ensure Shook remains the best law firm for serving clients’ needs now and as challenges evolve and expand.”

McDonough has been widely recognized for both her litigation expertise and contributions to the legal profession; The National Law Journal named her among the nation’s top 50 “Litigation Trailblazers and Pioneers” in its inaugural 2014 class. Other honors include:

  • The Legal 500 United States
  • The Best Lawyers in America
  • Who’s Who Legal, Product Liability Defense, Life Sciences
  • Life Science Star, LMG Sciences

McDonough earned her juris doctorate from the University of Kansas and an LL.M. in global health law from Georgetown University Law Center.

From a client perspective, “Madeleine is all that you could want from a modern lawyer,” said Joseph Spagnardi, executive vice president, legal and compliance at Shionogi Inc. “What really sets her apart is that she is a deeply experienced listener, an extraordinary assessor of priorities and a trusted advisor and confidant.”

Malini Moorthy, vice president and associate general counsel at Bayer Corp., said McDonough was “a true visionary and trusted counsel…She weaves together seemingly disparate objectives to achieve long-term solutions not only for her clients but for the industry – and does so with equal measures of passion and grace.”

PD Villarreal, senior vice president for global litigation at GlaxoSmithKline, described McDonough as “one of the finest lawyers I have ever worked with –brilliant, innovative, with enormous integrity.

“Shook has made a fine choice.”

Murphy’s Tenure: 15 Years of Growth

Under Murphy’s leadership, the firm adopted the mission to be the best in the world at providing creative and practical solutions at an unsurpassed value. Toward that goal, Shook embraced alternative fee arrangements and innovative billing strategies; more than one-third of matters are now set up under non-hourly structures. The Association of Corporate Counsel named Shook a Value Champion in 2012, 2013 and 2015 – Shook is the first and only law firm to win the award three times.

Other notable achievements from Murphy’s tenure:

  • Expanded client base. Shook protects the best in the world – the firm represents 45 companies on the Fortune 100, and has represented three-quarters of the list in recent years.
  • Litigation and industry focus. The firm continued its focus on science, health and technology, investing in new practices such as cybercrime and data privacy, and complementary practices including commercial litigation and intellectual property.
  • Product liability dominance. Shook has the world’s largest product liability practice, according to Law360, and is consistently recognized for excellence:
    • Shook won American Lawyer’s “Litigation Department of the Year” contest for product liability in 2008 and 2012, and the firm was a finalist in 2010 and 2016.
    • Shook has been named the “International Product Liability Defense Law Firm of the Year” by Who’s Who Legal for 12 years straight – every year since the award’s inception.
  • Commitment to diversity. Murphy led the firm to industry-leading diversity and inclusion efforts:
    • The Coca-Cola Company has recognized Shook with its “Living the Values” award for 2008, 2013 and 2015; Shook is the only law firm to receive it more than once.
    • In 2010, Shook was the first recipient of Altria Group, Inc.’s Law Department Diversity and Inclusion Award.
    • Shook received the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s Thomas L. Sager Award three times – in 2001, 2002 and 2010.
    • The firm is one of two firms to have achieved Gold Standard certification from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum for five straight years.
    • The firm is among Law360’s “100 Best Law Firms for Female Attorneys.”
    • Shook earned the highest possible rating (100 percent) on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for seven straight years.
    • Based on surveys from past summer associates, Vault ranked Shook the 18th law firm overall and the very first for fun.
  • Geographic expansion. Shook added offices in Orange County, Philadelphia, Seattle and Denver, and in 2015 the firm acquired Chicago’s Grippo & Elden LLC.

Murphy will return to full-time practice in January. He has more than 25 years of trial experience with corporate clients such as Ford Motor Company, Cerner Corp. and ConocoPhillips.

“I look forward to returning to the full-time practice of law and continuing my service with various civic and charitable organizations,” Murphy said. “I’ll do whatever I can to make sure Shook continues to be an international law firm leader in complex litigation.”

Read Law360's coverage of the chair transition.

Read's Q&A with McDonough, "A Quick Chat With the Newest Woman Leader in The Am Law 200".