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July 28, 2023

Founder of Philadelphia law firm Deborah Willig to receive 2023 Margaret Brent Award

CHICAGO, July 28, 2023 — Deborah Willig, founder and managing partner of Willig, Williams & Davidson in Philadelphia, is a recipient of the 2023 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award.

Willig will receive the award, given annually by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, at a ceremony and reception at 3-5:30 p.m. MDT on Sunday, August 6, at the Hyatt Regency Denver during the 2023 ABA Annual Meeting.

In addition to Willig, the 2023 award recipients include Hon. Sabrina S. McKenna, Melissa Murray, Yvette Ostolaza and Jill Wine-Banks.

“These five distinguished lawyers are role models for all women in the legal profession. We honor their achievements and look forward to celebrating with them at the 2023 Margaret Brent Awards ceremony,” said Commission member Victoria Alvarez, co-chair of the Margaret Brent Awards committee.

Willig has practiced labor relations and employment law since 1976. She advises and negotiates on behalf of labor unions whose members represent a broad cross section of the labor market, including teachers and public-school employees; public health, social services, library and recreation workers; firefighters; Teamsters; musicians; cafeteria workers and hotel and restaurant employees.

Willig has been involved in all collective bargaining negotiations between the city of Philadelphia and the School District of Philadelphia and their respective union employees for decades. She  was named the first female chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 1992.

Willig has been recognized for her work and advocacy in numerous ways, including with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Legal Intelligencer Lifetime Achievement Award, the Sandra Day O’Connor Award from the Philadelphia Bar Association, the Philadelphia Business Journal Women of Distinction Award, the Labor Human Rights Award from the Jewish Labor Committee, the Agent of Change Award from Women’s Way, the Israel Labor Medal from the State of Israel Bonds, the Vocational Service Award from the Rotary Club of Philadelphia and the Outstanding Service Award from Pennsylvania Citizen’s Action.

She was also selected by a nationwide group of peers as a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Willig earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree at Temple University School of Law.

For a photo of Deborah Willig, click here.

The Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, established in 1991, honors outstanding women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence in their area of specialty and have actively paved the way to success for other women in the profession. The award is named for Margaret Brent, the first woman lawyer in America. Brent arrived in the colonies in 1638 and was involved in 124 court cases in more than eight years, winning every case.

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