Bernstein Shur Elects New Chief Executive Officer
Portland and Augusta, ME and Manchester, NH (April 15, 2019) – Bernstein Shur, a leading New England law firm, has announced that Shareholder and Director of Attorney Recruiting and Retention Joan Fortin will become the first female Chief Executive Officer in the firm’s 104-year history on January 1, 2020, upon the retirement of current CEO Pat Scully.
“I’m deeply honored to be selected as the future steward of this firm and I look forward to building on our firm’s long legacy of service,” said Fortin. “Our focus will continue to be on service to our clients, our communities, and to each other – our attorneys and staff and their families.”
The firm’s equity shareholders elected Fortin as CEO last week. “Joan was the most qualified candidate for the position,” said Scully. “The fact that she is our first woman CEO is a bonus. It’s an exciting development for our firm.”
Scully and Fortin have worked together in strategic roles on the firm’s board of directors for over ten years. They will continue to work in their current positions through the end of 2019 to ensure a smooth transition and a feeling of continuity for clients, attorneys and the community.
“Pat has been and will continue to be a remarkable leader for the remainder of his tenure. He’s helped make Bernstein Shur one of the most desirable law firms at which to work,” said Fortin. “Under his leadership, the firm has enacted industry-leading policies like our parental leave policy, which provides 16 weeks of paid leave for all of our attorneys and staff regardless of gender. Additionally, under Pat’s leadership, we’ve grown our client demand and revenue, and as a result, our number of attorneys. We are deeply grateful to Pat for his leadership, kindness and humility during his six years as CEO and his 36 years with the firm.”
“It’s been a tremendous honor to lead such a talented group of attorneys. I’m very proud of the work we’ve accomplished, but I know there is still more to be done, and I know that Joan will be a wonderful leader of the firm we both care about so much,” said Scully.
A member of the ME State Bar since 1996, Fortin specializes in land use, municipal law and tax increment financing. She joined the firm’s board of directors in 2008; and as Director of Attorney Recruiting and Retention, she has hired nearly half of the firm’s 120 attorneys.
“We hire really talented people with growth and entrepreneurial mindsets, and we give them the freedom and encouragement to grow their individual practices in a way that is meaningful to them and that also helps us to continually develop new services that keep us pushing forward as a law firm,” said Fortin. “I’m excited about what we’ve been able to accomplish with this approach, and where we can take it in the future.”
Fortin earned her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston. Prior to that, she earned a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of ME and a bachelor’s degree from Colby College in Waterville. She grew up outside of Waterville on a dairy farm in Benton.
In 2018, MEbiz named Fortin a Woman to Watch. She has also been recognized in Best Lawyers in America for municipal law, and in 2013 Best Lawyers named her “Lawyer of the Year” for municipal law in Portland, ME.
She is also active in the community, chairing the American Heart Association’s 2019 Go Red Luncheon, volunteering her time with the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute, serving as a member of the Lex Mundi Women’s Initiative recruitment and retention task force, and frequently speaking on a variety of topics related to diversity, inclusion, and women in the workplace.
She and her husband, Chet Randall, reside in Portland. In off hours, they can often be found together on a sideline somewhere cheering on their two children during a football, basketball, soccer or baseball game.
About Bernstein Shur,
Founded in 1915, Bernstein Shur is a leading New England-based law firm advising clients across the U.S. and around the world. Our 120+ award-winning attorneys and professionals provide practical and innovative counsel, and practice in more than 20 key areas across a variety of industries. Bernstein Shur is known for simplifying complex issues and winning through steadfast persistence. The firm is ME’s exclusive member of Lex Mundi, the world’s leading network of independent law firms. Find out more at www.bernsteinshur.com.