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Gawthrop Greenwood, PC, a regional law firm with offices in West Chester, PA and Greater Wilmington, DE, has elected attorney and shareholder Stacey L. Fuller as chair of the firm’s management committee. The announcement comes on the heels of two recent mergers that have grown Gawthrop Greenwood to 27 attorneys, the largest in the law firm’s 119-year history.
Fuller, a well-known advocate for municipalities, business and nonprofits in the region, was named “Lawyer of the Year 2022” by Best Lawyers in America® and awarded the Chester County Woman of Achievement Business Award by the March of Dimes last fall. Before heading the firm’s personnel committee for most of her tenure, Fuller became a shareholder and partner in 2007, just two years after joining the firm as an associate. She has handled some of Chester County’s most high-profile land development and zoning matters during a period of historic growth for the region, representing municipalities, townships, boroughs, planning commissions and zoning hearing boards, as well as individual developers and residents. Fuller also has a stellar reputation for her practice in education and special education law as parents, public schools and charter schools encounter a larger volume of social, economic and behavioral challenges.
“When I joined Gawthrop Greenwood in the fall of 2004, there was only one female associate attorney. The firm previously had a female partner who had recently been elected to the bench, and I became the second female partner, so this is particularly gratifying,” said Fuller. “Business is really about people, and I have been privileged to be involved in hiring most of Gawthrop’s attorneys. When I interview attorneys, we always say that our firm is big enough to have an impact, but small enough to keep our community and clients as our focus. That will never change as the firm continues to grow to serve the diverse needs of our clients.”
Fuller will fulfill her term with incumbent management committee members P. Kristen Bennett, an attorney and shareholder specializing in trusts and estates in the firm’s Greater Wilmington office, as well as Michael F. Merlie, an attorney and shareholder who practices in finance, secured transactions, mergers, acquisitions, admiralty/maritime law and real estate law.
Fuller succeeds Patrick M. McKenna, who oversaw two mergers during his leadership. Earlier this month, the firm announced that commercial and residential real estate lawyers Holly L. Setzler and James D. Doyle, of Landis & Setzler, PC, joined Gawthrop’s West Chester office, specializing in community association law. In June 2022, attorneys Hudson L. Voltz and Janet J. Satterthwaite, of Hudson L. Voltz, PC, joined Gawthrop’s West Chester office, specializing in estate planning and family law.
“Transitioning the firm to a post-COVID economy has been my challenge and one that Stacey will continue to advance successfully,” says McKenna. “We look forward to further growth, while upholding the attention to personal service that is at the core of Gawthrop’s values and reputation.”
Fuller was recently elected President of the West Chester Area Education Foundation. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Chester County Bar Foundation and West Chester Area Senior Center. She previously served on the boards of Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry, Chester County Bar Association and West Chester Area YMCA. Fuller has been a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association since 2004, is a past Chair of PBA’s Municipal Law Section and has been elected to the House of Delegates. She is also a member of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Solicitors and the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs.