Gawthrop Greenwood names youngest ever management committee chair


Patrick McKenna

Gawthrop Greenwood, PC, a full-service regional law firm with offices in West Chester, PA and Greater Wilmington, DE, is announcing that attorney and shareholder Patrick M. McKenna has been elected chair of the firm’s management committee.

At 45 years old, McKenna is the youngest chair of the management committee in the firm’s 117-year history. Before heading the firm’s Government & Education Law Department, which has grown into one of the most successful in Chester County, McKenna became a shareholder in 2011 and is celebrating his 20th year practicing law. Recently he served as President of the Chester County Bar Association and President of the Chester County Bar Foundation.

“I’ve always appreciated the firm’s impressive mentorship program, clear path for advancement and opportunity to assume greater responsibility,” says McKenna who joined the firm just three years after graduating from law school. “While longevity at a single firm may seem unusual in the current legal landscape, it is a mainstay at Gawthrop Greenwood, and I plan to grow opportunities for the next generation of talent during my leadership.”

McKenna will fulfill his three-year term with newly appointed management committee member P. Kristen Bennett, an attorney and shareholder specializing in trusts and estates in the firm’s Greater Wilmington office, as well as incumbent member Stephen R. McDonnell, an attorney and shareholder with a diverse litigation background in corporate and contractual issues.

“The term limits embedded into the structure of our firm’s management committee, with a year off required between terms, allows for a true partnership where each of us has the opportunity to take on management responsibility. We believe that is essential to the success and growth of law firms in the modern economy,” says McKenna.

A resident of Chester County for more than 40 years, McKenna is a well-known solicitor for townships, municipal authorities and other public entities, as he focuses his law practice in Municipal Government, Zoning, and Land Use and Land Development.

He succeeds Sandra L. Knapp, who led the firm as chair of the management committee for the last three years. It’s a role that Knapp first assumed in 2011, when she blazed a trail for female attorneys across the region by becoming the first woman in Chester County to be elected to manage a mid- to large-sized law firm.

“The final year of my service was certainly the most challenging, as we navigated the onset of COVID-19 while maintaining the entirety of our valued workforce,” says Knapp. “Patrick’s leadership paves the way for developing talent at a firm that has become known for rewarding the hard work of our associates with partnerships.”

McKenna has been a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association since 2004, where he currently sits as a Zone 9 Delegate At-Large to the P.B.A. House of Delegates. In addition, McKenna was recently elected as Chair of the P.B.A. Municipal Law Section Council. He is a Member of the Solicitor Section of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors.

McKenna is a board member for the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union. He is also a past President of the Board of Directors of Safe Harbor of Chester County, Inc., a shelter for single homeless men and women in Chester County.

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