Entering the world of law is a challenge all on its own. But when Lynn C. Outwater, managing partner of Jackson Lewis LLP, decided to enter the employment and law labor field, she had a few more obstacles thrown in her way. At the time, very few women were in the field, making her a pioneer. Of course, she didn’t just enter the profession to be average.
Because of her outstanding legal and leadership skills, Jackson Lewis LLP chose her to be the first woman to open and manage a regional office.
Opening the Pittsburgh office in 1990 with two lawyers, the office now numbers 17 lawyers who represent employers in every aspect of workplace law and related litigation. In 2006, Outwater was asked to expand her responsibilities and open and manage the firm’s Cleveland office, in addition to the Pittsburgh office. The Cleveland office now numbers seven attorneys.
In addition, Outwater mentored numerous attorneys and administrative staff throughout the firm and is highly respected for her counsel and good judgment.
As a trailblazer, Outwater has been a strong advocate for diversity at both Jackson Lewis and in the legal professional community. The Jackson Lewis Pittsburgh and Cleveland offices are composed of nearly 50 percent women, whereas the national average of total women attorneys at peer firms is 34 percent.
The successful recruitment and retention of women lawyers is due in large part to Outwater’s role as managing partner and her commitment to mentoring and recruiting women lawyers. The culture at Jackson Lewis — and the working atmosphere that Outwater has instilled in the Pittsburgh office — is also a significant factor to the gender diversity of the office’s attorneys.
Outwater’s approach to her legal practice, her day-to-day work and her leadership style are all focused on solution building. As an attorney, she is a preventive strategies expert, advising local business leaders in a variety of industries about minimizing problems by improving relations between employers and their employees. She regularly advises many Pittsburgh clients concerning best practices in avoiding employment litigation, and as a result, many local businesses and not-for-profit institutions have benefited from her expertise by completely avoiding employment litigation.
Outwater is also practicing what she preaches. As a veteran managing partner in a rapidly expanding firm, she is sought out to resolve conflict and establish productive working relationships. She servers as the Pittsburgh and Cleveland office liaison to the firm’s national leadership — advocating for individual firm members and the offices as needed.
For example, the establishment of the Cleveland office was due in large part to Outwater’s advocacy. Her ability to illustrate the need for a Cleveland presence and her commitment to the continued success of the Cleveland office once it was established has significantly impacted Jackson Lewis and its business. The Cleveland office further established the Jackson Lewis national footprint while adding a first-class group of lawyers to the firm’s network.
Outwater also contributes to the positive light in which the community views the organization. The substantial legal work she performs for the firm’s clients in Pittsburgh and elsewhere, including many of the premier health care institutions throughout the Pittsburgh region and beyond, has been instrumental in expanding the firm’s reputation in the business community. Outwater has helped local companies better understand the responsibilities that they have to their employees, which results in more productive employees and better community citizens.
As a leader and expert in her field, Outwater is involved with a number of local professional associations and organizations. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s Employment and Labor Law Advisory Committee. She was a member of the Pittsburgh Human Resources Association Advisory Board from 2006 to 2008, and she was elected director of the Society for Human Resource Management’s Pennsylvania State Council (2004 to 2005).
Outwater received professional accreditation in the human resources field by achieving the senior professional in human resources designation from the SHRM. For more than a decade, Outwater served as a faculty member for SHRM’s HR Generalist and Advanced Generalist Certificate Programs as well as on the national board of the SHRM Consultant’s Forum from 2002 to 2003. She currently has the distinction of serving as a member of the board of directors for the SHRM Foundation.
In these leadership roles, she was able to share what she has learned from her national practice and involvement for the betterment of the Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania business communities.
Overall, Outwater’s pacesetting ways inside the office and out have resulted in success for both herself and her company.
How to reach: Jackson Lewis LLP, (412) 232-0232 or www.jacksonlewis.com