Vorys, Sater DC litigation head Pam Bresnahan may be the best, least known lawyer in DC. And that's intentional. Part of her practice specializes in representing law firms and lawyers on professional liability issues, an area where discretion trumps recognition. Her work ranges from representing lawyers or firms being sued by clients or others, to assisting lawyers in discipline cases, to advising on lateral moves and conflicts. Pam picked up the practice area several decades ago—she tells us nobody else wanted the matters. (Some of her other work includes insurance issues and commercial and IP litigation.) About the benefits of keeping matters low-profile, she says that it's much handier to come to an efficient solution when public opinion doesn't come into it.
Starting in August, Pam will have a more public role: a three-year term on the 38-member ABA Board of Governors, which acts and speaks for the 400,000-member organization. Pam's been involved with the ABA for the past 34 years and says it's the best thing she ever did. The focus now is membership, staying relevant to members, delivering services to lawyers and the public, building a larger non-dues revenue stream, and access to justice. Pam's been with Vorys for 19 years, and has been named one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America (a friend made her this framed collection of photos for the occasion), and one of the 50 most influential women lawyers by the National Law Journal.
As part of Pam's prior tenure on the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, she was the lead investigator for the ABA in the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts. For his initial nomination, she and two others did the first personal interviews with Roberts, as part of an extensive process evaluating whether the candidate is "well-qualified." (Spoiler: he was.) Pam also testified at his confirmation hearing. We snapped her with a photograph of Roberts being sworn in before his Senate Judiciary Committee testimony, specially printed and signed for her by the photographer.