Noreen Kelly, managing partner of McGuireWoods’ New York office, has been named a 2020 New York Trailblazer by the New York Law Journal, an American Lawyer Media publication. The honor is reserved for innovative leaders who have made significant marks on practice, policy and technological advancements.
Kelly represents financial institutions, broker dealers, investment advisers, and other businesses facing regulatory and criminal investigations and significant litigation risk. She became managing partner of the New York office in 2015 and played a central role expanding the reach of the firm’s broker-dealer, restructuring, finance and white-collar practices in New York. She also helped establish the firm’s cross-practice Financial Institutions Industry Team, which she led for three years.
Kelly told NYLJ that the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact “will continue to produce unexpected issues for our clients, but we are prepared to help.”
Kelly’s leadership extends to her focus on societal inequalities, NYLJ noted. She maintains a pro bono caseload, inspired by a successful effort early in her career to free a death row inmate in Texas. “It gave me the perspective of how powerful the law is and the resources that large law firms can bring to bear," she said.
Her high-profile matters include representing five New York City Council members applying to appear as amici in a lawsuit alleging the city’s property tax system is unconstitutional because tax bills were not keeping pace with soaring property values in gentrified neighborhoods. In 2019, she led a team of McGuireWoods lawyers who traveled to the Southern border to represent migrant women and children in connection with their asylum interviews at an immigration detention center in Dilley, Texas. Kelly also has helped lead New York office and client initiatives to assist veterans and LGBTQ refugees in need of pro bono legal services.
Kelly’s honors include recognition in Crain’s New York Business’ 2020 Notable Women in Law report and NYLJ’s 2018 Distinguished Leader Awards.